Wi-Fi and BYOD shape future of mobile workforce


iPass Mobile Workforce Report shows a consistent relationship by region between BYOD policies, smartphone use and worker productivity

A new report has highlighted the relationship between Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, smartphone use by region, and worker productivity. The report shows that mobile workers are using connectivity to be more productive and work longer hours, and most of this work is being done over Wi-Fi.

iPass Inc, a provider of mobility services for enterprises and telecom service providers, has published its quarterly Mobile Workforce Report, which also shows that poor connectivity and expensive Wi-Fi still impedes workers, as well as overly strict BYOD policies.

Most mobile workers spend the majority of their business days within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot but 41% of workers said lack of wireless coverage renders them unproductive at least 10% of their workday, which equates to 251 lost hours, or more than one month of lost productivity, per year per worker, the report stated.

In fact, the productivity drain is likely to be even higher with 18% of mobile workers saying they are unproductive due to a lack of Wi-Fi for at least 25% of their day. A majority of respondents felt 'more productive' rather than 'less productive' working remotely at home and in remote offices.

This report also reveals a correlation between hours worked and BYOD and how it varies by region. 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%) of mobile workers work 50 or more hours per week, while sixteen percent work 60 or more hours per week. It appears that North Americans are not just working more than other mobile workers, they view smartphones as a key productivity tool (according to the 2012 fourth quarter iPass Mobile Workforce Report). BYOD policies can add to that productivity because they give workers freedom of device choice so they can work wherever and whenever they choose.

Reinforcing the value of BYOD to mobile workers, 70% of all mobile workers now utilise 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% of all respondents said a company's BYOD policy can sway their employment choices.

'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 travelling or working remotely,' said Evan Kaplan, CEO, iPass. 'Although BYOD and Wi-Fi aren't everywhere, this survey indicates that mobile workers want access to reliable, cost effective connectivity whenever and wherever they need to work.' The majority of mobile workers (70%) are allowed to use their personal mobile devices for work (BYOD). North American workers were most likely to work for a company with a BYOD policy, followed by Asia Pacific workers and then European workers. Of workers who do BYOD, the majority said they currently do or would expense Wi-Fi costs from their personal mobile devices.  Also, mobile workers spend their remote work time in a range of places. The most likely locations are their homes or some type of office but 75% also work remotely from hotels; 40% report working from airplanes and coffee shops; and 29% report working on public transportation, such as trains, buses and subways. Finally, nearly three out of four (71%) mobile workers research Wi-Fi hotspot availability before they travel. Asia Pacific workers are most likely to do this type of research, followed by European workers and North American workers.


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