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Mobile Communications

Rene Hendrikse (Europe) - Where have all the workers gone?

The lights are on, but not everybody's home. So where is everyone? The mobile workforce is now working 24/7, spread across living rooms, coffee shops, hotels, parks and many other public locations. So with a more connected workforce now in play, mobile workers are taking the opportunity to work where and when they want - a practise known as "Workshifting". Workshifting is a positive outcome of a changing technological age, underpinning new levels of enhanced efficiency and productivity on-the-move. The difficulty in getting a handle on work/life boundaries is now commonplace with many mobile workers though, as the boundaries between personal and professional time are increasingly blurred.

Our most recent mobile workforce report released in August examines workshifting in more detail. This is an area whereby we survey our user base to understand more about the needs and behaviours of mobile workers. In this case, we found that although 95% stated their employers encouraged or tolerated workshifting, 40% would like to have an even more flexible work environment. On top of this, 33% would seek employment elsewhere, 57% would be less satisfied with their job and 45% would feel less productive if they were unable to workshift. From these findings, there is an important lesson to be learnt; entitlement to flexible working conditions is a contributing factor to job satisfaction and attracting employees. Mobilising employees is no longer just an option in today's fast-paced working environment, but is in fact becoming a business imperative. Businesses must have robust mobility and connectivity policy in place.

Our previous quarterly report found that mobile workers were living hyper-connected lifestyles which impinged on social outings and personal relationships. This latest report has witnessed a change in attitudes towards mobile working, with employees lightening the load on professional responsibilities when outside working hours. This simply reflects how mobility is changing day-to-day, driving at how organisations need to be aware of worker behaviour when managing a mobile workforce.

For workshifting to be truly embraced certain cultural and social barriers will have to be broken down. In some organisations there is still the (misplaced) notion, that being in the office, sat at a desk equates to productivity, that flexible working isn't really an ‘honest day's graft'. There is also a danger that in embracing workshifting,organisations potentially risk overlooking important factors such as team spirit and company culture that are often welcome by-products of time spent with colleagues. A balance must be struck. Having said that, if employees spend less time commuting and more time focused on delivering results at the most convenient time for them, it is definitely a win-win for business. Out of the office doesn't mean out of sight and mind.

By Rene Hendrikse, Vice President, Northern Europe, iPass

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