Trend of using smartphones and tablets for work 'aids productivity'
WORKING NINE-TO-FIVE isn’t the only way to make a living for today’s technology-literate employee. Freed from the shackles of traditional working hours, locations and technology, many people say they are more productive and more loyal.
That is one of the findings in an extensive global study, Evolving Workplace Research, carried out by TNS for Dell and Intel, which polled 8,360 workers and interviewed 29 experts and senior business leaders.
The main trend is what’s called the consumerisation of IT, which refers to people using their personal devices such as smartphones and tablet computers for work.
In the TNS survey, 59 per cent of respondents said they would enjoy work more if they had a say in the technologies they used. Sixty feel they could be more productive if they had better IT resources.
Currently, more than four out of 10 workers can influence the choice of device and technology provided by their employer.
Just 60 per cent of employees feel they can get their work done in a traditional 9am-5pm schedule and using mobile devices is seen as a way to let people work more effectively outside the office.
The private sector is more likely to offer flexible hours (58 per cent versus 51 per cent in the public sector). Small and medium businesses are more likely to offer the option than large enterprises (60 per cent compared with 55 per cent).
“The consumerisation of IT trend has been driven by the arrival of smartphones, tablets, cloud computing and so forth. Business leaders feel if they want to ride this wave, they will have to become more flexible. So certainly there is more pressure on them to address that,” said Fergus Murphy, marketing director for client computing with Dell Europe.
Nick McQuire, research director for mobile enterprise strategies with IDC in London, said the trend is a change in how technology is used in organisations. “I don’t think this represents an overhaul of the IT model, but it certainly is a big step in its evolution,” he said.
IDC research found the number of mobile devices is growing by 50 per cent per year whereas the traditional PC market is declining. Mobile working is increasing by 5 per cent per year and IDC forecasts that more than 60 per cent of employees in Europe will be mobile by 2016.
There are also risks highlighted by the research: 43 per cent of respondents believe that using personal devices for work make it difficult to protect their organisation’s data and intellectual property.
Organisations also need to have the infrastructure that allows staff to bring their own computing devices to work, and to do so securely.
The Rotterdam school of management at Erasmus University in the Netherlands has conducted scientific research into what it calls the “new world of work” and found that while employee wellbeing, work-life balance and staff involvement all improve in the new workplace, the expected productivity boost wasn’t achieved.