Mobile Devices Are Creating an On-Demand Workforce

By  Martha Walz — August 30, 2010

Do you bring your business smartphone with you everywhere you go? Do you check your work e-mail "one last time" before turning in at night, just in case something important came up? Do you bring your laptop on vacation so you are never truly disconnected from work?
 
If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, you are not alone. The results of two recent surveys show that mobility is creating an on-demand workforce in which workers are connected to the office 24/7, always at the ready to handle work-related issues.
 
Earlier this month, Mobile Enterprise conducted a survey of its readers regarding their smartphone usage. The results were as expected for today's mobile workforce: 2% used their smartphones exclusively for personal use, 11% used them exclusively for business use, and the overwhelming majority, 87%, used them for a combination of both. Ninety-six percent used their smartphones during both business and non-business hours, while only 2% used them exclusively during business hours and 2% used them exclusively during non-business hours.
 
Respondents reported using their smartphones for a variety of tasks. The most popular uses were making phone calls (97% of respondents), reading e-mail (96% of respondents), and accessing the Internet (88% of respondents). Fourteen percent of respondents reported using their smartphones for targeted business functions such as mobile field data collection, remote server access, engineering surveys, and site and threat vulnerability assessments.
 
The iPass Mobile Workforce Report, released last week, echoes Mobile Enterprise's results and reveals even more interesting trends. It found that only 5.9% of employees completely disconnect even while on vacation, and 36.3% said they were constantly connected, and mostly for business purposes.
 
This mixing of personal and business activities is blurring the line between dedicated work hours and personal time. Increased mobility is a boon to worker productivity, but evaluating this productivity can be difficult. Moving forward, enterprises will have to adjust how their employees are managed and measured in this always-connected, on-demand mobile world of work. 

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