Survey: 14 Percent of Mobile Workers Do Business in the Bathroom

By Jessica Binns, Contributing Editor — June 13, 2012

According to new 2012 data from social software provider harmon.ie, 77 percent of mobile workers finish documents, proposals or presentations while on the road with more than half literally finalizing materials in the eleventh hour.

What's more, while workers resort to transforming restaurants, bedrooms and beaches into "unconventional" workplaces, even the most creative makeshift cubes aren't helping get jobs done, as 84 percent of traveling executives and managers report that they cannot work effectively on collaborative projects while on-the-go, despite increased enterprise adoption of iPads and smartphones.

harmon.ie's survey, fielded by uSamp (United Sample) to more than 500 mobile business professionals nationwide, was specifically designed to help corporations identify pain points in and work toward solutions for on-the-go computing. In addition to showing that one in seven workers truly conducts business in public restrooms, harmon.ie's survey found that technology gaps, specifically in enterprise collaboration tools, create productivity losses and mistakes that are detrimental to business. Among the key findings:

  • Fifty-four percent of those surveyed reported lower personal productivity, and 43 percent reported that they are often missing key information to complete a project. 32 percent admitted that they often make mistakes in critical documents while on-the-go.
  • Of those surveyed who are executives, more than half (56 percent) admitted to project delays or missed deadlines because of poor mobile collaboration, and 38 percent missed business opportunities altogether.
  • Similarly, 54 percent of those surveyed who are executives finish projects on the road at least half the time, of which, nearly three quarters (72 percent) finalize documents up to an hour before a presentation. Fourteen percent finish documents within five minutes of a presentation or even after the meeting adjourns.
  • Half of all respondents reported difficulties in getting input from colleagues in a timely manner, with 41 percent working off potentially out-of-date documents.
  • Only 3 percent say that they have no need to collaborate with coworkers – whether by phone, email or the like – while working outside of the office.
"We live in an era of what we call BYOD (bring your own device), and with that comes the expectation that every important application and document will be available while walking around with an iPad or smartphone," said Yaacov Cohen, CEO of harmon.ie. "The reality? Not so much. Executives and managers may have their cell phones or laptops at the ready, but their companies aren't arming them with a seamless collaborative experience across all devices. Without the same information, tools and software on their mobile devices as they have on their desktop, people may be connected but really remain involuntarily out of touch."

harmon.ie's survey additionally proves that increased demands and endless workloads are pushing the average corporate worker to travel-induced extremes. Fifty-six percent of respondents admitted to writing, editing or reviewing a document while in a restaurant. Similarly, 55 percent toil away during air travel, and 29 percent while stuck in traffic. Perhaps the most "unconventional" findings are the percentage of mobile business users that work in bed (45 percent), in public restrooms (14 percent), on a beach (14 percent), in an elevator (11 percent), and at a child's recital, school or sporting event (12 percent).

In an effort to ease the on-the-go work experience, the social software provider recently launched harmon.ie for iPad – the first-ever product to bring Microsoft SharePoint document collaboration and social interactions to the iPad. Business users can easily access SharePoint from both the iPad and desktop with the same user experience. Recent Forrester research shows that nearly 80 percent of U.S. enterprises already use SharePoint, fueling the demand for the improved on-the-go collaboration. Now, the 1 million existing harmon.ie desktop users and the mobile community worldwide can securely share documents, get real-time document and colleague status updates, and connect with colleagues anywhere, anytime.

For the full survey results, click here.

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