Mobile-first strategy enhances employee productivity

By : |April 28, 2016 0

A new global study, “Mobility, Performance and Engagement” by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has established that mobile phones are tools of convenience and workplaces that embrace mobile and mobility give rise to a productive and an engaged workforce.

The EIU surveyed 1,865 employees globally and found that organizations that were rated “pioneers” by employees with respect to mobile enablement saw a 16 percent boost in productivity, as well as increases in creativity (18 percent), satisfaction (23 percent) and loyalty (21 percent) when compared to companies that ranked poorly with respect to supporting mobile technology.

“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 organization 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, Vice President of Marketing at Aruba, a Hewlett-Packard Enterprise company.

“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,” he added.

As the demand for working from anywhere is on the rise, the survey found that 60 percent of employees said mobile technology makes them more productive, as it allows better collaboration. And mobile messaging apps, such as Whatsapp, are becoming a preferred medium of communication as it is used for work by 31 percent of organizations, found the survey.

“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,” said Kozup.

Productivity is also enhanced by the ease of information access; 42 percent of employees say that the ability to access information quickly and easily has the greatest impact on their productivity levels. Workplace freedom and flexibility, on the other hand, were found to be the biggest contributors to employer loyalty.

Hot desk environment

The survey says that 54 percent of companies are presently providing access to the company network from any mobile device to support working anywhere in the office or remotely.

As a result, many companies are also offering a hot-desking environment (where multiple employees use a single workstation at different times) with mobile connectivity at any location, showing 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). In India too, the trend is catching up and many companies are letting employees work from.

“A few trends have been driving the growth of the mobile workforce. The cost of infrastructure and commute times in megacities are a key reason. Also, as new models of employment such as talent exchanges, flexible workforce and free-lancing are becoming more prevalent, mobile workforce will be on the increase,” said Padmaja Alaganandan, Partner, PwC Consulting.

Not just millennials

Another interesting factoid from the survey is that contrary to conventional wisdom, mobility isn’t just for millennials. The survey looked at the productivity gains across all age groups from 18-65 and found no significant differences. Rather, the increase in productivity was tied to whether the employee considered himself/ herself an early adopter of mobile technology. Again, this is logical, as early adopters tend to be more fluent with the advanced features of mobile devices and can get more accomplished.

Of this highly mobile group—or #GenMobile, as Aruba refers to it—40 percent stated they would not work for an organization that does not allow the use of personal devices in the workplace, compared with 22 percent for all employees.

The Economist Survey has too many lessons for today’s CIOs but the one that tops the chart is undoubtedly the mobile-first strategy. In this digital business era, competitive advantage is based on speed and mobile technology, allowing employees get more work done faster than non-mobile-centric organizations.

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