Mobile workers are using connectivity to be more productive and work longer hours, and most of this work is being done over WiFi, but poor connectivity and expensive WiFi still impede them, as does overly strict bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, according to mobility services provider iPass’ quarterly Mobile Workforce Report.
The survey indicated that most mobile workers spend the majority of their business days within range of a WiFi hotspot, but 41 percent of workers said lack of wireless coverage renders them unproductive at least 10 percent of their workday, which equates to 251 lost hours, or more than one month of lost productivity, per year per worker.
However, the productivity drain is likely to be even higher with 18 percent of mobile workers saying they are unproductive due to a lack of WiFi for at least 25 percent of their day, the report noted. A majority of respondents felt "more productive" rather than "less productive" working remotely at home and in remote offices.
"It's increasingly clear that forward-thinking IT departments are capable of dramatically enhancing employee productivity by arming workers with smartphones, tablets and connectivity plans when traveling or working remotely," Evan Kaplan, CEO of iPass, said in a statement. "Although BYOD and WiFi aren't everywhere, this survey indicates that mobile workers want access to reliable, cost-effective connectivity whenever and wherever they need to work."
In addition, 70 percent of all mobile workers now utilize company BYOD policies. Of all respondents, North American workers are the most likely to be employed at companies that allow BYOD. These policies are becoming so important that 35 percent of all respondents said a company's BYOD policy could sway their employment choices.
The survey revealed that 39 percent of mobile workers have paid more than $20 for one-time use of WiFi. Twenty-four percent of workers have paid $30 or more for one-time access to WiFi. Mobile workers appear to spend their remote work time in a range of places. The most likely locations are their homes or some type of office but 75 percent also work remotely from hotels, 40 percent reported working from airplanes and coffee shops and 29 percent report working on public transportation, such as trains, buses and subways.
The report also included some statistics of regional work habits: North American workers work longer hours (50) each week, on average, than their peers in Asia Pacific (48) and Europe (47). More than half (51 percent) of mobile workers work 50 or more hours per week, while 16 percent work 60 or more hours per week. It appears that North Americans aren't just working more than other mobile workers; they view smartphones as a key productivity tool, according to the Q4 2012 iPass Mobile Workforce Report.