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Effective Workplace Mobile Strategy ‘Drives’ Productivity

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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Workers say flexible working makes them more productive and creative, according to Economist Intelligence Unit survey

A mobile optimised businesses strategy can deliver “measurable opportunities” for businesses and their workers, according to a new study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), commissioned by HPE’s Aruba Networks.

Researchers spoke to 1,865 employees around the world, 60 percent of which said mobile technology made them more productive and 45 percent claimed it boosted their creativity.

The report said that companies deemed to be “pioneers” by their employees in terms of how they support mobile technology witnessed increases 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 technology.

Business Improvements

mobile phone

“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 company that their organisation can achieve a 16 percent increase in employee output, or tell 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.

“While past studies have recognized the impact of increased mobility on employee engagement, establishing the business outcome has been a missing link. This report quantifies it.”

Mobile focus

The ability to work anytime, anywhere is said to deliver the the single-biggest impact on staff productivity, with 49 percent of respondents speaking favourably and 38 percent claiming this had the single greatest impact on job satisfaction.

Effective collaboration is another key area. This was rated the most important factor affecting creativity (38 percent), and another one-third of respondents said it had the greatest impact on their loyalty.

Forty-two percent said they are using mobile digital collaboration tools, a figure rising to 56 percent for the UK, while consumer apps are also popular with WhatsApp used by 31 percent organisations.

“The opportunity and the challenge here is to marry employee demands for remote working with team collaboration,” added Kozup. “The rise in mobile collaboration tools presents new ways for businesses to keep teams together and working effectively, even if they are physically apart. It’s clear that companies who are able to do this are in a better place to attract and retain the best employees.”

Flexible working

using smartphone mobile phoneForty-two percent of staff said the ability to access information quickly and easily has the greatest impact on their productivity levels and it seems businesses have recognised this, as 54 percent of companies are providing remote access to company networks

An effectively mobile strategy also delivers “workplace freedom” for staff, with 32 percent being able to work anywhere within the office, which they say is the biggest contributing factor to their creativity. This apparently means a company can potentially gain more creative output just by offering some choice. Meanwhile 29 percent have declared that workplace flexibility makes the biggest difference to their loyalty.

Yet, many companies have recognised this (Yahoo being the exception), and 46 percent of businesses are now offering a hot-desking environment with mobile connectivity at any location. The UK leads the way here, as it offers the highest level of hot-desking (54 percent) followed by Australia and Germany (both 53 percent).

“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,” said Pete Swabey, senior editor at EIU. “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”.

Last month a survey of security experts conducted by the Ponemon Institute and Lookout found that businesses are increasingly concerned about the vulnerability that mobile introduces into the business operation. The concern is that mobile devices know everything, have access to everything and seem to be everywhere, making them yet another targeted channel for a breach.

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