There’s no denying that the mobile workforce is rapidly growing. From attention to development and even usage, more and more businesses are discovering the value that comes with the added flexibility of getting away from the nine-to-five office gig and opening up the field to mobile. But a new study from theEMPLOYEEapp suggests that the gains are not universal, and for some, are much less pronounced than others.
The study from theEMPLOYEEapp, part one of the 2015 Mobile Trends in the Workplace survey, discovered that, for all we hear about a mobile workforce, it’s not yet a reality in many firms. Indeed, far from it in some. It’s the second annual study in that vein, and covered over 200 workers in the United States, with 40 saying that a traditional office setting wasn’t part of the job. Fifty-five percent of said pool, meanwhile, indicated that travel was a regular part of the job.
Forty-nine percent of respondents indicated that a mobile device was part of the operation, and a third turned to tablets in work, but 70 percent of respondents indicated that neither of these devices was actually supplied by the employer. This could already be regarded as a bad sign, one that was reinforced later on in the study when 41 percent of employees reported being unable to access company information at all, and 36 percent reporting that there was trouble in accessing documents easily, if at all. Companies that aren’t accommodating on this front might be losing out. Sixty-two percent of employees reported greater job satisfaction when being able to access company information readily from mobile devices, and 51 percent believed productivity was greater when working mobile.
Founder and CEO of theEMPLOYEEapp Jeff Corbin offered up some comment around the study’s results, noting that there was “a real divide” when it came to how employees wanted to use mobile technology and how employers were actually willing to allow it via the kinds of support that would be provided. That divide, Corbin noted, could pose serious losses in efficiency and job satisfaction.
There’s a lot of value in the mobile workforce. It allows for greater flexibility, and greater ability to react to changes in the field that can’t often be provided by the nine-to-five workday. One easy example is issues of time zone; imagine a company in Norfolk, Virginia doing business with one in San Diego, California. Three hours separate one from the other. Imagine what happens when, at 2:30 pm in San Diego, the company discovers it needs parts from Norfolk. The idea grows more pronounced when dealing with multinational operations. But it’s not just an issue of time zones, and mobile workforces allow employees to better schedule doctor’s visits, dentist visits, issues of a child’s school, and a host of others. Having that mobile workforce option can allow even sick employees to keep up some measure of productivity without risking infection to other, healthy employees, and inclement weather becomes much less of a threat as well.
The mobile workforce option offers a lot of possibility, and though it’s not always easy to put in place—security is, as ever, a major concern—doing so can mean the difference between a healthy, happy, and productive workforce and one that’s stumbling through the motions, watching the clock, and working while sick.
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