Workers seek control over mobile lives: report

Think of connectivity as a "tap or valve", says University of Sydney Business School program director

Workers increasingly want to control when and where they work through mobile technology, according to the University of Sydney Business School.

The business school’s program director, Kristine Dery, said effective mobility in the workplace is more than just automating work processes for mobile devices. She agreed with a new report by Aruba Networks that found a new generation of workers, students and customers are forcing businesses to make workplaces more flexible and mobile.

"My research in this area suggests that our definition of mobile refers less to flexibility around space – i.e physical mobility – and more about the ability to be connected anywhere, anytime,” said Dery.

“Optimising connectivity is about ensuring that we can access information, that we can connect to people and conversations, and that we are able to be contacted when and where we want to be.”

Decisions about when and where work should be performed should be decided by the employee, said Dery.

“Think of it as a tap or valve,” she said. “We need to be able to regulate the amount of connectivity we have at different times to meet our needs. In this way we begin to reframe our work and non-work to meet our individual needs, rather than simply automating existing work practices in a more mobile context.”

The Aruba report surveyed 5,000 people in the United Kingdom, France, Nordics, Germany, United States, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. About 62 per cent owned three or more connected devices.

One-third of those surveyed said they would rather have their employer pay for the smartphone of their choice rather than receive a 5 per cent higher salary, Aruba said.

Nearly half (45 per cent) said they work most efficiently out of normal work hours – before 9am or after 6pm.

Also, more than half (58 per cent) said they preferred fast, consistent Wi-Fi to 3G, 4G or wired connections.

A recent Accenture report found that half of Australian businesses have reported a less than 50 per cent return on investment (ROI) on mobility projects.

That was in spite of the fact that 30 per cent of the Australian organisations planned to spend $32 million in the next two years on mobile capabilities, more than any other country except for the United States.

In a recent interview with CIO Australia, IT consulting firm Bluewolf advised organisations seeking a greater ROI to narrow their focus to mobilising a selection of key business processes.

Adam Bender covers business tech issues for CIO and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow CIO Australia on Twitter and Like us on Facebook… Twitter: @CIO_Australia, Facebook: CIO Australia, or take part in the CIO conversation on LinkedIn: CIO Australia

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Tags connectivityBring Your Own Device (BYOD)mobilityworkAruba networkswirelessremote workingmobileuniversity of sydney

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