The state of the mobile workforce.
As you evaluate mobile workforce trends and how they impact your company, realize that they reflect an increasingly mobile lifestyle. More people own smartphones than ever before (82 percent). Furthermore, among the younger demographic, that number is almost universal (93 percent). And we’re more hooked to our phones than ever, checking them on average 47 times a day.
But enterprises have yet to find a consistent way to keep pace with these changes. While 98 percent of enterprises affirmed that their employees use personal smartphones for business purposes, only 20 percent of enterprises provide them with those smartphones. Unfortunately, this leaves the company vulnerable to security risks.
Due to the proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace, there are more workers than ever who are eligible to join the mobile workforce. By 2020, estimates show the mobile workforce will be 105.4 million strong. That translates to roughly 72.3 percent of the workforce in the U.S. Globally, that number is set to reach 1.87 billion by 2020, or 42.5 percent of the worldwide workforce.
In this post, we’ll cover a few dominating mobile workforce trends that will impact enterprises. We’ll also explain what those trends mean for your company, and outline strategies that will turn these trends to your benefit.
Prevailing mobile workforce trends to watch for.
Mobile trends have impacted the workplace for years. Many of the trends we’ve found are simply the expansion of already-existing office practices. Here’s what the future of the mobile workforce looks like.
#1. More BYOD, more personal devices at work.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is an employee tendency to use their personal mobile devices—usually smartphones and tablets—for work purposes. As people become more reliant on their devices in the day-to-day, they also want to use them in the office. BYOD is credited with increasing employee flexibility—allowing them to work from anywhere at any time—consequently boosting productivity. But this movement also presents companies with a set of challenges, including how to support multiple operating systems and device models, legal concerns, and corporate security versus personal privacy.
#2. More mobility in the workforce, more remote workers.
Rising mobility enables greater inroads into implementing remote workforces. Modern workers are shunning long commutes and traditional offices for a more flexible work style. Remote working also becomes more practical as companies permit more workers to access business information and communications methods using personal devices. Recent surveys show as many as 84 percent of organizations are already employing remote workers.
#3. More cloud versus on-premises applications and tools.
With mobility and remote working gaining traction, companies will have to consider migrating traditional on-premises applications and tools to the Cloud. In the Cloud, workers can access company resources on a more flexible 24/7 basis rather than just when the worker is in the office.
What these mobile trends mean for you.
These trends communicate a pervasive desire among workers to pursue avenues of greater productivity. More than two-thirds (83 percent) of global workers believe that advances in technology and mobility have made them more productive. But overall, workers don’t believe they need to work in an office to be productive. This change in worker mindset is also requiring an overhaul of managerial priorities as well. Some of the impacts you should expect include:
#1. Employees will become assets.
In the current marketplace, workers prefer companies that allow remote working options over those that don’t. As more companies adopt remote worker programs, it’ll become harder to employers to differentiate themselves. Widespread remote-working opportunities may make it harder to retain employees
#2. Security becomes a more immediate concern.
A major concern is how accommodating remote workers can increase a company’s exposure to security breaches and data loss. The intrusion of personal devices into the workplace leaves IT departments scrambling to provide workers with resources while also controlling the flow of data.
#3. Wider device use and accommodating remote workers leads to some tough questions.
Finally, these trends force you to confront rising issues. Does your organization even want to accommodate wider acceptance of BYOD, given the challenges it represents? And if you do implement remote worker initiatives, how do you effectively manage remote workers and track their productivity? Even out of the office, your employees need leadership, recognition, and to feel part of a larger organization. Company culture and management style will become more of a consideration for employees. As a result, managers will also need additional tools to track workflow and employee performance metrics across the distances.
Strategies to turn these mobile workforce trends in your favor.
Sun Tzu said, “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” Understanding these trends isn’t the end goal. What’s more important is identifying the opportunities they present and deciding how your organization should capitalize on them. Below, we offer a few solutions for your consideration.
#1. Find the BYOD policy that works for you.
BYOD isn’t going anywhere, so it’s up to enterprises to decide how they’ll treat this phenomenon. Some organizations go so far as to ban personal devices in the workplace. On the other end of the spectrum, some enterprises provide their employees with fleet devices equipped with uniform operating systems and security protocols. Others split the difference and allow personal devices, but employ tools like big data to provide system-wide support and security. The right application of big data and analytics can provide support that delivers the right information to the right employee’s device.
#2. Implement flexible hours and telecommuting policies.
Explore remote working strategies to see what best suits you and your employees. If you’re not ready to move the majority of your workforce off-site, start off small. In a recent survey, Jive found that the many millennial workers value flexible work hours and personal time. They also prefer companies that offer the chance to telecommute rather than commute.
#3. Explore available technology options.
Don’t get caught flat-footed when it comes to technology. This isn’t easy, especially when new technologies crop up every day. Even familiar technologies undergo drastic evolutionary changes within a matter of years. Look at phone service providers. Many of them are transitioning from bulky on-premises solutions to digital ones delivered via the Cloud. And as you adapt to managing a more mobile workforce, you’ll need to evaluate the communications tools you’re providing.
To stay up to date on the latest productivity-enhancing tools, you can either opt to do it yourself or assign someone else. This task often falls to the IT department, which brings us to the final recommendation.
#4. Train a strategic IT department.
A strategic IT department isn’t merely a department that plans out in detail how it will achieve its goals. It’s a recent industry designation for IT departments that proactively evaluate and adopt technologies that contribute to company goals and growth. A strategic IT department can make judge emerging technologies and make recommendations on whether it’s a good fit your enterprise.
Staying ahead of mobile workforce trends.
In conclusion, the emerging remote workforce presents unprecedented challenges to enterprises. But on the other hand, they also represent opportunities to reach new levels of productivity and growth. Here to help you stay ahead of these trends is our ebook offering communication tips to effectively manage your remote workers.