April 27, 2016
Most employees now have access to mobile devices in the workplace and this ability to work anytime anywhere means that 49 percent of respondents in a new global study by the Economist Intelligent Unit (EIU) say mobile working has the greatest impact on productivity, while for 38 percent it determines how satisfied they are with their employer. The study, sponsored by Aruba, claims that companies rated by employees as ‘pioneers’ in how they support mobile technology saw a rise in productivity (16 percent), creativity (18 percent), satisfaction (23 percent), and loyalty (21 percent) when compared to organisations that were poorly rated at supporting mobile tech. While a respondent’s age was not found to be a factor of how mobile technology impacts their performance and engagement, four out of ten Millennials did admit they would never work for a company that didn’t allow them to use their own devices for work, compared to 22 percent of all employees.
The survey – ‘Mobility, Performance and Engagement’ – of 1,865 employees globally demonstrated that many workers recognize the benefits of mobile-optimized work environments. In fact, six in ten (60 percent) employees said mobile technology makes them more productive, while another four in ten (45 percent) acknowledge it causes their creativity to rise.
“Today, most companies and employees understand that a mobile-first approach can be good for business, but if you can tell a CEO of a Fortune 500 business that their organization can achieve a 16 percent increase in employee output, or HR directors that they can increase loyalty by over one-in-five, we believe they would make mobility an even greater investment priority,” said Chris Kozup, VP of marketing at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.
While past studies have recognized increased mobility’s impact on employee engagement, establishing the business outcome has been a missing link – this report quantifies it,” he added.
The EIU’s analysis looked to define how this wide adoption of mobile technology was impacting business outcomes by defining the key dimensions of a mobile-first employee experience, then demonstrating how each dimension contributes toward business performance. A number of key trends stood out:
- Globally, the ability to collaborate effectively is rated the most important factor affecting creativity (38 percent), another third of respondents said it has the greatest impact on their loyalty.
- To help foster better collaboration, 42 percent of companies are now using digital collaboration tools that work on mobile – a figure that rises to 56 percent in the UK. Mobile messaging apps, such as Whatsapp, are also used for work by 31 percent of organizations, peaking at 66 percent in Singapore.
“The opportunity and the challenge here is to marry employee demands for remote working with team collaboration,” Kozup said. “The rise in mobile collaboration tools presents new ways for businesses to keep teams together and working effectively, even if they are physically apart. What’s clear is that companies who are able to do this are in a better place to attract, and retain, the best employees.”
Some 42 percent of employees also said that the ability to access information quickly and easily has the greatest impact on their productivity levels; and currently 54 percent of companies are now providing access to the company network from any mobile device in order to support working anywhere in the office or remotely.
For 32 percent of employees, being able to work anywhere within the office has the biggest contributing factor to their creativity, meaning a company can potentially gain more creative output just by offering some choice. A further 29 percent declare that workplace flexibility makes the biggest difference to their loyalty.
To foster this freedom, the report finds that 46 percent of companies are now offering a hot-desking environment with mobile connectivity at any location, showcasing that more collaborative work environments are on the rise. The UK offers the highest level of hot-desking (54 percent) followed by Australia and Germany (both 53 percent).
“Work has to happen on people’s own terms,” said Holger Reisinger, senior vice president, and head of the New Ways of Working Initiative at audio technology company Jabra. “We need to offer as diverse a choice as possible. You want it to be personal; to be more productive. The more you try to control that, the more you risk people being turned off work.”
Within the EIU study, a respondent’s age was not found to be a factor of how mobile technology impacts their performance and engagement. In fact, it dispels the popular notion that mobile working is the domain of the younger generation, making it even more critical for organizations to place mobile technology as a top priority.
The distinctions were made between respondents who consider themselves early adopters of technology – who Aruba defines as #GenMobile – and those who consider themselves as laggards. Early adopters are significantly more likely to report that mobile technology makes them more productive (72 percent of this group agree with this statement, compared to 50 percent of laggards), more satisfied (59 percent versus 48 percent), more creative (52 percent versus 40 percent), and more loyal to their employer (44 percent versus 31 percent).
Pete Swabey, senior editor at Economist Intelligent Unit concluded: “This report proves that CIOs have the opportunity to use their mobile technology strategies to influence the employee experience – and therefore the productivity, creativity, loyalty, and satisfaction of their workers.
“This is a departure from the usual target outcomes of efficiency and cost optimization, and allows IT to make a more meaningful contribution, both to the strategic ambitions of the organization and to the lives of its workers”.
Click here to access the study.