Shaping the Mobile Workforce

iPass today published its quarterly Mobile Workforce Report, which shows a relationship between Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, smartphone use by region and worker productivity. This report shows that mobile workers are using connectivity to be more productive and work longer hours, and most of this work is being done over Wi-Fi – this has been a remarkably consistent finding in this, the 14th quarterly iPass Mobile Workforce Report. However, poor connectivity and expensive Wi-Fi still impedes them, as well as overly strict BYOD policies.

This report reveals an interesting correlation between hours worked and BYOD and how it varies by region. North American workers work longer hours (50) each week, on average, than their peers in Asia Pacific (48) and Europe (47). More than half (51 percent) of mobile workers work 50 or more hours per week. Sixteen percent work 60 or more hours per week. It appears that North Americans aren’t just working more than other mobile workers, they view smartphones as a key productivity tool (according to the Q4 2012 iPass Mobile Workforce Report). BYOD policies can add to that productivity because they give workers freedom of device choice so they can work wherever and whenever they choose.

Reinforcing the value of BYOD to mobile workers, 70 percent of all mobile workers now utilize company BYOD policies. Of all respondents, North American workers are the most likely to be employed at companies that allow BYOD. These policies are becoming so important that 35 percent of all respondents said a company’s BYOD policy can sway their employment choices.

“It’s increasingly clear that forward-thinking IT departments are capable of dramatically enhancing employee productivity by arming workers with smartphones, tablets and connectivity plans when travelling or working remotely,” said Evan Kaplan, CEO, iPass. “Although BYOD and Wi-Fi aren’t everywhere, this survey indicates that mobile workers want access to reliable, cost-effective connectivity whenever and wherever they need to work.”

Most mobile workers spend the majority of their business days within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot but 41 percent of workers said lack of wireless coverage renders them unproductive at least 10 percent of their workday, which equates to 251 lost hours, or more than one month of lost productivity, per year per worker. In fact, the productivity drain is likely to be even higher with 18 percent of mobile workers saying they are unproductive due to a lack of Wi-Fi for at least 25 percent of their day. A majority of respondents felt “more productive” rather than “less productive” working remotely at home and in remote offices.

“With so many mobile workers suffering from a least a month of productivity loss each year there is a clear problem that the channel can help to solve. Resellers should be going into customers and using this data to highlight the business case for enhancing employee productivity by arming workers with smartphones, tablets and connectivity plans when travelling or working remotely,” said Rene Hendrikse, VP EMEA, iPass.

“Although BYOD and Wi-Fi aren’t everywhere, this survey indicates that mobile workers want access to reliable, cost-effective connectivity whenever and wherever they need to work. Resellers who help to provide their customers with this kind of connectivity will stand head and shoulders above the crowd.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine

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