The workforce is going mobile, but some organisations are not fully prepared to serve their mobile employees.
A benefit or an obligation?
To reap the full advantages of a mobile workforce, organisations and employees alike must have a full understanding of the benefits and implications of mobility.
Mobility helps employees be more productive and accessible, but employers must take care that the ability to work anytime, from anywhere doesn’t turn into the obligation to work all the time, from everywhere.
Collaboration across more devices
As the workplace evolves, new approaches are needed to manage employees as well as providing the tools that enable collaboration and effective remote working.
Teams are working across a broad range of devices and need a consistent, first-rate experience in terms of the content they can access and the ways they can collaborate.
We are going to see even more objects – not just phones, tablets or computers – connected to the Internet, providing even more touch points for data and information exchange.
The umbrella term, Internet of Things (IoT), will not only cause a widespread demand for better ways to obtain data, but also highlight the importance of getting it to the right people in the right forms.
The rise of remote working
While most companies are still in the very early stages of aligning with this trend, it is predicted that this year will see a leap in remote working.
A study by Forrester Research and Zebra Technologies revealed that 53% of companies were planning to implement IoT-related technologies over the next 24 months.
General benefits include the tracking and managing of physical assets (the condition or location of products, for example), managing customer relationships and improving the customer experience.
Forrester further reveals that 29% of the global workforce are now “anytime, anywhere” information workers, who use three or more devices, work from multiple locations and use many apps (2013 Mobile Workforce Adoption Trends, Forrester, February 2013).
Matt Brown, vice president and practice leader at Forrester Research, believes that mobile, and cloud collaboration services are quickly supporting this new workplace experience. Enterprise investment in these technologies continues to outpace the overall IT market. Why? One reason: thanks to a broad array of technology suppliers, virtually every company in the world can now access them.
Small businesses have the advantage
Evidence suggests small companies can put cloud collaboration technologies to use faster than their larger counterparts. Basic business collaboration services can now cost less than a daily cup of coffee to run for employees when provisioned via the cloud.
In addition, individual employees are able to put the latest mobile devices and apps to productive business use faster than their employers can. Forrester data suggests the most highly mobile employee segments already embrace these tools to make themselves more productive from work, from home, and from the road.
Worker attitudes toward mobility
It will hardly come as a surprise that workers increasingly prefer to be able to work from home – or anywhere else.
Based on research and data from IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2009-2013 Forecast, Cisco’s International Workplace Study and the Telework Research Network, here is how today’s workers feel about mobility at the workplace:
- 66% want greater flexibility and said they would take a job with less pay and more flexibility in device usage, access to social media and mobility, than a higher paying job without such flexibility;
- 60% believe that they do not need to be in the office to be productive;
- 66% want device freedom; and
- 45% of those who are able to work outside of the office admitted to working between two and three extra hours per day