Workplace Future: Bonuses Instead of Raises; More Teleworkers, Fewer Desks


Faced with tight budgets and an uncertain economic climate, employers are increasingly turning to bonuses and performance-based pay as a strategy for retaining top-performing workers. A new WorldAtWork study shows that variable pay – a category of compensation that includes bonuses and other performance-based pay – was used by 82 percent of employers this year. That is an increase from 79 percent a year ago.

According to human resource specialists, this approach to compensation enables companies to reward good work without creating additional fixed costs.

Another survey by Aon Hewitt found that companies allocated 12 percent of their payroll budgets for variable pay this year. In contrast, they spent just 3 percent of those budgets on salary increases.

By 2020, organizations around the globe are set to reduce office space by almost a fifth, according to a 2012 study by Citrix, a provider of mobile technology. The workplace of the future will provide just seven desks for every 10 office workers, with each person accessing the corporate IT network from an average of six different computing devices, the study suggests. Regionally, the figure for 2020 is as low as six desks for every 10 workers in the U.S., U.K, Singapore and Netherlands.

The Citrix Workplace of the Future report polled 1,900 senior IT decision-makers across 19 countries. Respondents believe that a third of employees (29 percent) will no longer work from their traditional office. Instead, by 2020, employees will base themselves from various semi-permanent locations, including home, field and project sites, and customer or partner premises. In addition, employees are expected to access corporate applications, data and services from locations, such as hotels, airports, coffee shops and transit vehicles.

Organizations expect to reduce workplace space by 7 percent by 2014, and nearly 17 percent by 2020, according to the report.

Workshifting involves moving work to more optimal times and locations. Organizations that have implemented workshifting already have 15 percent fewer desks than those who have not implemented such a policy, helping to deliver real estate savings.

A number of benefits are associated with increasing the number of teleworkers:
  • For organizations, workshifting creates a more flexible, agile workplace (cited by 73 percent of respondents), lowers employee-related costs (53 percent), reduces real estate costs (48 percent) and helps attract (47 percent) and retain (44 percent) top talent.
  • For employees, workshifting leads to more flexibility (cited by 65 percent of respondents), increased personal productivity (62 percent), less commuting time (61 percent) and a better work/life balance (55 percent). It also enables employees to spend more time with customers (48 percent).
Almost all respondents said they expect that future office space will be redesigned to be more appealing.

Globally, most organizations (83 percent) will use bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives to manage the growing number of devices that people use to access the corporate network. Generally, employees will choose and purchase their own computing devices, with 76 percent of organizations reimbursing the employee in part or in full.

The key drivers for an organization to provide funding for BYOD are to ensure it retains a degree of legal and technical control over the device and the management of its data, and to take advantage of potential cost savings by shifting procurement and maintenance to employees and contractors. Also, to ensure that sensitive data is managed correctly, 65 percent of organizations will consider employee eligibility criteria as a key part of their mobile workstyles policy.

Hedley Lawson, Contributing Editor
Managing Partner
Aligned Growth Partners, LLC