Smartphones: Office shackles or tool for work-life balance?
CIO - Any and all executives or managers looking to get more productivity from their information workers -- and, really, what company isn't shamelessly espousing a "more with less" philosophythese days? -- might want to pay attention to the following strategy: Set your workers free from the office.
"Teleworking," or working fromhome/Starbucks/not-within-corporate-walls, of course, is nothing new. High-powered laptops,ubiquitous broadband and Wi-Fi connections, and even-my-grandmother-has-one cell phones have all enabled a seamless virtual work-experience for the modern employee.
But new survey data from Forrester Research shows that tech-savvy information workerswant to be connected to (yet untethered from) the office even more--they want smartphones. And they want them badly: Many are even ready, willing and able to foot all or part of the bill to gain access to corporate e-mail and documents, as well as stay connected to their work lives--often at the expense of their personal lives.
Just 11% of U.S. information workers today use a smartphone at work, according to Forrester's 2009 Smartphones and Telecommuting: Workforce Technology Adoption 2009 report. (The Forrester survey fielded responses of 2,001 U.S. information workers who use a computer or terminal at their job and work at an organization with 100 or more employees.)p>
The information workers (or "iWorkers") surveyed want more flexible work hours (two-thirds of respondents said so) and a third want to work from home at least occasionally. In the past, info workers were forced or took the initiative (depending on your point of view) to use personal mobile devices to get their jobs done: A third of respondents in the survey report that they use their own mobile phones for work.
"The logic is clear," writes principal analyst Ted Schadler in the report. "Smartphones and laptops unshackle work from location."
Two additional nuggets of survey data and Forrester analysis offer additional employer incentive to enable and encourage increased smartphone and laptop use: Teleworkers work, on average, two hours more per week than office workers. "Access to real applications from anywhere means more work in more places," Schadler contends. "And that translates into higher productivity--or at least higher utilization of your IT investments," such as collaboration, instant messaging and Web conferencing tools. (For more on this, seeiPhone + ERP Go Together Like PB & Jelly.)
And, adds Schadler, that nearly insatiable demand for a smartphone will allow companies to "offload costs and responsibility for devices and plans to their employees." (For comparison, the report notes that one in three U.S. iWorkers has a laptop.)
All of this seems to be a win-win for companies that embrace this strategy. "Giving information workers access to key corporate resources from any facility or from home and elsewhere raises the chances that they can find a key piece of information when it's most valuable: at the point of decision-making," Schadler writes. "And that translates into higher team productivity."
But what about the employees? It's hard to deny that, on some level, they're getting a raw deal: Not only are the employees allowing themselves to work longer hours (presumably without any pay increase), but some of them are actually going to have to pay out of their own pockets for the "privilege" of work invading their private life, via that sleek smartphone that's always on.
Smartphone users, in particular, "work from everywhere," Schadler adds. "This data is definitive: iWorkers with smartphones use their devices everywhere--81% from home, 62% while traveling, even 64% while at their desks. And 29% of smartphone users spend three or more hours a day with the device."
As the line between work and personal life blurs even more and the spread of mobile devices continues on its torrid pace, the question of who pays and how much will likely become more critical to corporate IT, finance and security departments. (See 7 Things the CIO Should Know About Telecommuting.)
"Telework is on the rise, poised to grow to 63 million U.S. iWorkers by 2016," Schadler writes. "Regardless of its telework frequency, this group is technology-bound, more likely to use virtually every tool in the stable."
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Three Best Practices to Help Government Agencies Overcome BYOD Challenges This paper highlightschallenges facing government IT in a BYOD environment and discusses strategies for network preparation, ongoing support, and securing information to enable...
- 3 Steps to Content Sharing and Collaboration ft. Forrester Research Consumer sync and share tools help people access and send personal files, but smart IT leaders know that businesses require more than just...
- Empowering Your Mobile Workers A modern mobile IT strategy is no longer an option, it is an absolute necessity. Here's how some of the nation's most progressive...
- Omnichannel: From Buzzword to Strategy Customers demand a seamless experience across channels, especially mobile. Read this whitepaper for a research-based framework for using omnichannel for higher customer engagement.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more