Report: Mobile Workers Say Wireless Connection Almost as Important as Water, Electricity

By Jessica Binns, Contributing Editor — May 23, 2012

In its quarterly Mobile Workforce Report, iPass found that 60% of mobile employees reported 50 to 60 hour-plus work weeks that also include weekend days as the most popular time to work remotely. The report also illustrates mobile workers' resourcefulness in doing whatever it takes to get wireless connectivity: 29% have hijacked an unsecure Wi-Fi network, while 30% have driven around in their car in desperation to find free Wi-Fi. In addition the report found a 16% increase, since 2011, of mobile workers waking through the night due to stress.

"Connectivity is like oxygen for today's mobile workers. The improved ability to work anywhere as long as they are connected appears to be driving higher productivity. This reinforces the need for IT departments to provide services that ensure high quality, safe and affordable global connectivity for their employees," said Evan Kaplan, chief executive officer at iPass. "While having control over when, where and how one works is a significant benefit in terms of well-being, mobile workers themselves need to take care to manage the unique stressors that an always connected work-life brings."

The findings come as 88% of these "globally mobile" workers said wireless access was as important to their lives, or almost, as running water and electricity while 95% reported significant reductions in their job productivity without wireless access.

Meanwhile, the percentage of mobile workers sleeping with their smartphone has risen slightly since 2011. 71% of Asian mobile workers report they sleep with their smartphones in the bedroom, followed by 58% of North Americans and 55% of Europeans.

Other report findings include:

  • Globally 58% of mobile workers expressed frustration accessing corporate applications that are not optimized for smartphones and tablets.
  • Tablets are the most popular mobile device for video streaming (47%), social media access (33%) and reading (64%). However, the laptop is still the most popular device for video conferencing (69%), document editing (88%) and web browsing.
  • Mobile usage is causing slightly increased friction in mobile workers' personal lives with their partners, family and friends. The highest amount of friction was reported in Europe at 38%, followed by 33% of North Americans and 30% of Asian respondents.
  • Saturday and Sunday are the most popular days to work remotely (30%) followed by Friday at 22%.
  • 56% of Asian mobile workers, sometimes or obsessively, wake up during the night to check their smartphones, followed by 31% of North Americans and 21% of Europeans.
  • The first thing 38% of North American mobile workers do when they wake up is check email, followed by 33% in Asia and 29% in Europe.
  • 57% of mobile workers are bothered when other people use their mobile devices in work meetings. However, 13% of them say they are equally guilty of checking their devices.
  • Data roaming charges are impacting even the most resourceful of employees with 34% of mobile workers reporting data roaming bill shock.
  • 27% of mobile workers intend to buy an iPad in the next six months, followed by 8% who intend to buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab.
For more statistics and findings, please visit http://mobile-workforce-project.ipass.com

About the Report

The iPass Mobile Workforce Report is published quarterly. This report was based on a survey of 1,689 mobile enterprise employees at 1,100 enterprises worldwide between March 27, 2012 and April 13, 2012.

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