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Mobilising a workforce drives up performance and productivity

Mobile workers are also more creative, satisfied and loyal, says EIU study

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There is a clear and positive link between mobile-first enterprise environments and employee engagement, suggesting businesses can improve performance via well-executed mobile strategies, revealed a global study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The survey of more than 1,800 employees was conducted on behalf of wireless networking supplier Aruba – now part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise – which has long touted the concept of Generation Mobile, essentially workers defined by a preference for flexible working hours and multiple devices.

Indeed, the study found that employee age was not a factor in how mobility affects their engagement, which dispels the notion that mobile working is the domain of the millennials.

“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 organisation can achieve a 16% increase in employee output, or tell HR directors that they can increase loyalty, we believe they’d make mobility a greater investment priority,” said Aruba marketing vice-president Chris Kozup.

“While past studies have recognised the impact of increased mobility on employee engagement, establishing the business outcome has been a missing link. This report quantifies it,” said Kozup.

Another major finding of the report, entitled Mobility, Performance and Engagement, saw companies rated as “pioneers” in the support of mobile technology experience a 16% rise in productivity, an 18% rise in creativity, a 23% rise in employee satisfaction and a 21% rise in loyalty, when compared with enterprises rated poorly.

Additionally, six in ten employees said access to mobile technology made them more productive, while just under half believed it caused their creativity to rise.

“Think about downtime at the airport or on the train – there’s not much dead time now,” said survey respondent Kevin Melton, sales and marketing director at medical insurance provider AXA PPP International. “You always have access to an iPad and, especially in Asia, to Wi-Fi.”

Collaboration equals loyalty

Other trends also appeared. For example, the ability to collaborate was rated the most important factor affecting creativity, and a third of respondents said it also had a great impact on their loyalty to their employer.

Around 42% of enterprises are now using digital collaboration tools that work on mobile – 56% in the UK – while mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp are used in 31% of organisations.

The ability to access information quickly and easily had the greatest impact on productivity levels, while for just under 32% of employees, the ability to hot desk made them more creative. Businesses in the UK seemed to be the most likely to offer hot desking, said the report.

“Work has to happen on people’s own terms,” said Holger Reisinger, senior vice-president and head of the New Ways of Working Initiative at audio technology company Jabra.

The EIU said the report proved CIOs could use mobile strategies to better influence the overall employee experience, a departure from more usual target outcomes such as efficiency and cost cutting.

“[It] allows IT to make a more meaningful contribution to the strategic ambitions of the organisation, and to the lives of its workers,” commented EIU senior editor Pete Swabey.

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