Collaborative Technologies

[click here to download a pdf version of the full report]

White paper sponsored and originally published by Citrix Online in December 2011

FlexibleWork Rhetoric and Reality

Old habits die hard. Even with all the hype, publicity, and discussion about how we’re now living in a world where people can work “any time, any place,” our research suggests that reality for many knowledge workers continues to lag well behind that vision of ultimate workplace flexibility.

In 2008 we conducted a survey of over 750 knowledge workers and managers to learn about their work patterns, their use of technology, and their likes and dislikes about the IT tools they depend on. Now, in 2011, we have conducted a second, similar (though not identical) survey that revisits those questions as well as assesses what kind of progress, if any, the corporate world is making in embracing flexible work. As the research shows, it is still true that old habits, such as in-office work, die a very slow death.


[click here to download a pdf version of the full report]

Sponsored by Citrix Online; published in November 2011

The Future of Business Collaboration

There are two things we know without question about the future of work:  it will require significantly more collaboration, and it will be dramatically more distributed. But what really matters is that these two trends are in direct conflict with each other. The way we work is changing dramatically. The workforce has become far more mobile. And new technologies have made it both easier and much cheaper to connect with friends, family, and business colleagues on a global basis. At the same time, those interactions have become far more critical to organizational success. Collaboration—getting work done with other people—is increasingly seen as the key to success.


This is the June 2010 issue of our free monthly newsletter, Future of Work Agenda. We welcome comments on any of these articles. You can also access the newsletter directly on our website, at this link.

June has busted out all over, and sadly the month is almost over. But if you, like us, are based in the northern hemisphere, you are finally enjoying the beginning of summer. For most of us it’s been a long, cold, wet spring. We’ve earned that sunshine and warm weather! If you are south of the equator, have a nice winter.

But our joy at summer is tinged with sadness—and anger—over the continuing oil spill and ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and along the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Our prayers are with the families of those killed in the oil rig explosion and with all of those whose livelihoods and futures are under siege. And we’re not just sad, but deeply concerned, about the devastation that’s being wreaked on our planet and on millions of living creatures.

We’ve all been reminded once again that not only the future of work, but our basic future as a species, is by no means a sure thing. We’ve all got to learn to live and work in ways that help to sustain (and even repair) this very fragile planet. With that in mind, we offer you two thought pieces this month that are aimed dead center at that necessity.

This month we’re also launching a new series, Meet the Associates, in which we introduce you to the incredibly talented members of the new Future of Work Collaborative that we announced last month. We’ll feature two or three Associates each month, in the firm belief that you’ll be so impressed you’ll want to meet them yourself sooner rather than later (we’re also looking forward to having many of them contribute articles and blog posts to this ongoing global conversation about the future of work).

Finally, you’ll also find our regular “The Future of . . .” notes, pointing you to interesting and important articles, blog posts, events, and ideas about the future of work that we want you to know about.


Charlie and Jim

Click on any Headline below to access the full story.

1. Feature Article: Sustainability With A Big “S”

Sustainability is about much more than environmental impact analyses. True long-term sustainability for both businesses and the communities where they reside must also include attention to wealth generation and the building of social capital. Using the BP oil spill disaster as a case in point this article presents a practical view of how both public and private sectors leaders can move towards true Sustainability—with a capital “S.”

2. A Practical Approach To Sustainability

Ted Ritter, President of the Greater Phoenix Chapter of IFMA (International Facilities Management Association) offers some very practical advice about Sustainability to facilities managers. He led the formation and operation of a “Facilities Managers Green Peer Group” that both educated its members and produced dramatic real-world results.

3. Meet The Associates

We’ve recently invited a small group of people to become Future of Work Associates, a new community of world-class experts who, like us, are committed to helping create the future of work. Each month for the foreseeable future we’re going to introduce several of the Associates here, in the belief that the more you get to know them the more you’ll want to engage with us and them as you create your own future.

4. The Future of Technology

Did you know reading is now a social act? And if you’re looking for the right collaborative tool, we’ve got the perfect place for you to start searching. Finally, a new look at Silicon Valley’s Big Three tech firms and their competing views of the future of the Internet.

5. The Future of Place and Space

Some useful data related to the growing strategic role of corporate real estate.

6. The Future of People and Organizations

A first-person look at how millennials view the workplace, and the organizations they work for.

7. What’s Happened/Happening?

Brief announcements and notes about where Jim and Charlie have been, are, and will be, holding forth in public conversations and other activities.


This is the March 2010 issue of our free monthly newsletter, Future of Work Agenda. We welcome comments on any of these articles. You can also access the newsletter directly on our website, at this link.

Here in North America the harbingers of spring (birds, flowers, earlier sunrises) are becoming more and more evident. And we even saw a picture last week of crocuses popping up in London. Winter isn’t over by any stretch, but now with Daylight Savings Time in place again here in the U.S., we can dare to hope for warm, dry weather.

So we turn our thoughts to the future, and to change—and not just in the weather. We look this month at the shift in power, status, and trust away from institutions and towards communities, at the emergence of still more miraculous technologies, and the continuing growth in flexible/remote/distributed work (whatever you want to call it), including a new way to find those third places you’re looking for.

But we also sound a cautionary note. We may be optimists are heart, but we’re not naïve; nothing about the future is guaranteed. We also report on an important book that dares to ask the question, “What if automation is so successful it puts all of us out of work?”


Charlie and Jim

Click on any Headline below to access the full story.

1. Feature Article: The Pendulum Swings

The forces of history are conspiring to shift the center of control in our society away from institutions and towards local community groups. This trend is true for education, governance, commerce, and our spiritual life. What you trusted fifty years ago can no longer be depended on. We believe the power of technology to promote increased connections among like-minded people is driving this change.

2. The Future of Technology

Last month it was augmented reality and 3D movies. This month we describe how a “sixth sense” technology can bring all that data out there in the “cloud” right to your fingertips (literally) when you need it. And we link to a report that highlights which new technologies are going to expand rapidly in the public sector.

3. The Future of Place and Space

We report on a new iPhone app that helps you find coffee shops and wifi hot spots, using augmented reality. And we point to a blog post on making the business case for flexible work.

4. The Bookshelf: Stuff We’re Reading (and You Should Too)

This section contains mini-reviews of things we’re reading (or trying to). We’ll include links to more information online, typically at, though we have no stakes in whether you buy the books and articles we mention, or not.

5. What’s Happened/Happening?

Brief announcements and notes about where Jim and Charlie have been, are, and will be, holding forth in public conversations and other activities.

As usual, your comments and reactions to any of these articles are more than welcome. Please send your thoughts to us at any time.


This is a reprint of the Compass article from our September Future of Work Agenda newsletter. We are reproducing it here to call attention to the importance of preparing for the upcoming flu season in North America, and the value of having a flexible/mobile work program as a means of coping with a pandemic.

By Jim Ware and Charlie Grantham

It’s fall here in North America, and the flu season is upon us. Most of us know there’s a greater risk than normal this year because of the H1N1 virus, commonly known as Swine Flu. Clearly, we all hope it won’t turn into a pandemic, but that possibility remains very real.

However, this isn’t a plea for you to get a flu shot (though you should, and we certainly plan to). Rather, it’s a reminder that unlikely but possible events like a pandemic, a hurricane, an earthquake, a transit strike, or—heaven help us—a terrorist attack could play havoc with your business. As Alvin Toffler pointed out many years ago, it’s those low probability/high impact external events that can create genuine “future shock” if you haven’t included them in your thinking.

While many organizations do have detailed business continuity and risk abatement plans, our experience suggests that very few of those plans include the best response of all:  a remote/mobile work program.

[click to continue…]


Had to chuckle when I saw this in today’s paper:

Not much more to say – Scott Adams is usually spot on.


I just retweeted a link to an incredibly powerful YouTube video, and then realized the video deserves even more exposure.

This is a very powerful message about how social media (of all kinds) is changing the nature of branding – but  I actually believe it’s more important than that – it’s changing the future of work in very profound (and poorly understood) ways.

Watch it – and pass it on.

… and thanks to my twitter friend AmyJokin at ShuffleBrain for the link.


Are You a Digital Nomad?

July 25, 2009

Here’s a rare chance for me to give you tomorrow’s news today. There’s a good article in tomorrow morning’s Washington Post (July 26, 2009) about the rise of “digital nomads,” otherwise known as mobile workers.

The article (“Digital Nomads Ditch Cubes for Diners and Pool Decks“), by Michael Rosenwald, opens this way:

Frank Gruber’s workstation at AOL in Dulles could be in any cubicle farm from here to Bangalore — push-pin board for reminders, computer on Formica desk, stifling fluorescent lighting. It’s so drab, there’s nothing more to say about it, which is why the odds of finding Gruber there are slim.

Instead, Gruber often works at Tryst in Adams Morgan, at Liberty Tavern in Clarendon, at a Starbucks, in hotel lobbies, at the Library of Congress, on the Bolt Bus to New York or, as he did last week, beside the rooftop pool of the Hilton on Embassy Row. Gruber and Web entrepreneur Jen Consalvo turned up late one morning, opened their Mac laptops, connected to WiFi and began working.

For many of us this is nothing new, but it’s nice to see this emerging way of working getting such good press.

We’re convinced  the number of mobile workers will exceed 25% of the entire U.S. workforce within a few years (if it hasn’t already). That’s over 30 milllion mobile workers – a big market “niche” in its own right, but one whose purchasing power is largely ignored except by the obvious laptop manufacturers, cell phone providers, and coffee shops.

But a word to the wise:  those digital nomads spend lots more money on lots more services.


I’m in awe at how fast Twitter has become a daily part of my life, and how it’s sweeping across the whole world – often generating very intriguing extended conversations.

What’s your opinion? Do you like twitter, or think it’s a silly waste of time? What role does Twitter have in your business/professional life?

Weigh in here with your Comments, and I’ll highlight them both here and – if you don’t object – on twitter itself (Charlie and I tweet


TechWebinarMaven has just published a nice short piece about how the nature of work is changing – due in large part to the increasing availability and power of online collaboration tools (“Online Collaboration Tools Will Change Work Forever“).

Of course, I’m a little biased, as the article cites the webinar that Charlie Grantham, Eric Bensley (of Citrix Online), and I presented for Citrix Online a couple of weeks ago (“Keeping Your Team Connected in an Online Environment“).

We do appreciate the “plug” and the attention to the challenges of managing a widely dispersed team; it’s an important topic.

You can also access the recording of the webinar directly at this link.