There is a measurable link between more mobile-first working environments and an increase in employee engagement, according to a global Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) study sponsored by Aruba Networks.
The study showed that companies rated by employees as pioneers in how they support mobile technology saw a rise in productivity (16 percent), creativity (18 percent), satisfaction (23 percent), and loyalty (21 percent), when compared to organizations that were poorly rated at supporting mobile technology.
Six in ten employees said mobile technology makes them more productive, while more than four in ten (45 percent) believe it causes their creativity to rise.
The survey also found 42 percent of employees say that the ability to access information quickly and easily has the greatest impact on their productivity levels.
Currently, 54 percent of companies are providing access to the company network from any mobile device to support working anywhere in the office or remotely.
"Without careful planning, IT could face some pitfalls. The first is around corporate security. Additionally, businesses and CIOs need to be clear on acceptable use policies that accompany this newfound freedom of the mobile workforce," Chris Kozup, vice president of marketing for Aruba, told eWEEK. "Many companies have well-ingrained systems of measurement – think performance management – tied to the old guard of fixed working. In other words, management systems must adapt to the new style of working or risk a high level of conflict within the organization."
Simply put, a manager who has a 9-to-5 or time card mentality could be at odds with a new mobile-optimized working environment where employees should be evaluated based on their output and results, rather than time spent physically at their desk.
"While the technology is widely available to enable a mobile experience, the business must not lose sight of the need to reskill managers to adjust as well," Kozup explained.
The ability to work anytime, anywhere is seen as having the single-biggest impact on employee productivity, with 49 percent of respondents saying it has the greatest impact on their productivity.
"Mobile technologies and working styles will continue to dominate over the coming years. Common devices like desk phones will join the likes of the cassette tape as technologies of yesteryear," Kozup said. "This will be driven by the next-generation digital workforce who use mobile devices in ways that are beyond conventional. We are seeing our leading customers embrace digital workplaces in which they are often completely rethinking the concept of work. Most of these initiatives center on the need to move away from fixed working environments to far more open and collaborative workspaces."