The traditional boundaries that existed between life and work have been redrawn forever – primarily due to the consumerisation of IT, but also the flexibility this has afforded business and employees alike. Emails no longer pile up, instant messages are answered in seconds and applications are being optimised for mobile users on the go.
What’s less well established is the extent of mobility’s benefits on businesses of today. How much more productive is a mobile workforce? What’s the impact of mobility on hiring and retention? And are mobility benefits distributed equally across workers of all ages?
A recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), commissioned by Aruba Networks, debunked the common misconception that millennials benefit the most by being mobility-enabled.
The research showed workers across the age spectrum – from 18-65 – have exceptionally similar perspectives around the importance of mobility and mobile-optimised workplaces.
All of the employees quizzed owned a smartphone, used an employer-issued smartphone or both.
In other words, all employees are now what Aruba calls ‘GenMobile’, which is an ageless demographic best described by an affinity for mobile devices rather than birth year.
For decision-makers considering which technologies impact their business, the implications of this finding can’t be overstated. Every employee is mobility-enabled, and whether or not a business take advantage of this has a direct impact on business performance.
These findings indicate that optimising workplace mobility is now a strategic imperative for corporate success.
Optimising workplace mobility is about taking the tools that empower the creative and collaborative spirit found on university campuses. This is a fundamental requirement for any enterprise to be innovative.
For example, the study showed leading-edge mobilisers are twice as good at delivering work flexibility and collaboration tools, such as Skype for Business, that can turn hallway conversations into productive group activities.
They are also three times better at supporting anywhere-anytime workspace designs, like hot desking. Such workspaces provide employees with options to interact with whoever is appropriate on a given day or for a given project.
Mobile-optimised companies in the study demonstrated other competitive advantages, such as being 1.5 times better at work-life balance, 2.5 times better at fostering innovation and creativity, and more than twice as good at getting the most from employees.
At mobility-optimised companies, projects that typically take an individual eight hours to complete are done in about seven. That’s a net gain of approximately an hour per person, or 16%, regardless of organization size, type or region.
To put this in perspective, 16% of productivity regained per eight-hour workday adds up to about 320 hours per year, taking standard holidays into consideration. That’s like realising over eight extra weeks of output, per employee.
At scale, this benefit is tremendous. For a global organisation with 10,000 employees, that’s 3.2 million hours of productivity recovered annually, or 80,000 weeks.
Attracting and retaining top talent
Beyond productivity, employers often emphasise the importance of attracting and retaining the right talent to drive innovation. In primary markets, competition is particularly fierce. Some businesses chronically struggle to compete for the best employees.
Insights from the study show why. Overall, companies at the mobility forefront are three times better at attracting workers. They also enjoy higher retention rates, reporting 21% greater employee loyalty.
From an employee perspective, a quarter of all workers (25%) said robust mobility is the primary factor for accepting a job. Regionally, the impact can be even higher. For instance, over a third of employees said mobility is their top decision-making factor in Germany (36%) and Japan (38%).
This means engaging the best talent requires optimising mobility. Equally, limiting mobility means constraining – or even alienating – existing workers.
Despite the emphasis on creating mobile-first workplaces, the research suggests only about 11% of all companies are mobile-optimised. In contrast, 50% of organisations were judged to be behind the curve in mobility.
For mobility leaders, this means ongoing investments are needed to stay ahead of the pack. Adopting new innovations and maximising existing systems are equally important.
All other companies stand to gain considerable advantage by changing approach. With careful and strategic mobility-enhancing investments, there are great opportunities to improve market position relative to competitors.
Sourced from Jon Moger, senior marketing director, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company