Mobility - Changing the Way We Work
Coffee shop, restaurant, train, sofa, bus, on holiday, in the park, in someone else’s office. During a recent leadership workshop, I asked a group of business executives how many hours they spent at work on an average week and then how many of those hours were spent within the office. The average was 50hrs per week with 45% of those hours (22.5hrs) being worked off-site.
Mobility is without doubt changing the way we work as an increasing number of companies realise the productivity gains that this can bring. The adoption rate of smartphones within the UK (70%) is higher than any other European country, and more than double that of Spain (32%) with France achieving the second highest (50%). Smartphones have become essential to our corporate lives. Wi-Fi, Virtual Desktops and Mobile email now allow employees to collaborate with each other in a way which was never possible before, and they are also more accessible to customers and suppliers. IT departments within companies are being challenged to stay ahead of the game or at the very least, keep up with the rapidly changing environment so that companies can maintain their competitive edge.In a recent iPass Mobile Workforce Report of 3,100 mobile workers at over 1,100 enterprises worldwide; 38% said that they checked their emails first thing in the morning before their commute and 25% of those said that they worked during their commute, and 22% worked again on their way home. 33% worked after they arrived home. Another interesting finding is that 72% of the 3,100 respondents said that they used a mobile device on a daily basis within the office; often in a cafeteria, a conference room while waiting for a meeting to begin or walking between offices.
For most of us, it’s whenever, wherever and soon enough on whatever we want. So far, much to the surprise of some business owners who were reluctant to allow their employees access to work remotely for fear that it would be abused, the effect has largely been positive with many companies reporting an increase in staff productivity. An increasing number of individuals tend to agree that it allows them to be more in control and to enjoy a better work-life balance. 54% said that they were substantially more productive and 55% substantially more efficient. Employers are realising that flexibility is not a perk of the job but an absolute necessity, and those who fail to offer this kind of flexibility may find an increase in employee turnover rates as employees choose to work elsewhere. According to the survey, without sufficient flexibility at work, 33% of employees said that they would look for a new job, 57% would be less satisfied with the jobs they have, and 45% would feel less productive.
As employers we have to be bold and embrace the changing environment. Employees now expect a degree of flexible working. For those who are still ‘waiting to see’... “Prepare yourself for the world, as the athletes used to do for their exercise; oil your mind and your manners, to give them the necessary suppleness and flexibility; strength alone will not do” Lord Chesterfield
© inemmo Limited 2010 Joy Maitland MIBC FCMI FinstLM is a director of inemmo Business Coaching and Consulting