Technology For A Mobile Workforce

Kaplan’s Andrew Dudley Discusses Current Mobile Workforce Trends

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Steven Lerner

One of the biggest enterprise mobility trends in 2019 is the rise of a mobile workforce that is always connected. Although this type of structure is beneficial for the enterprise, do the workers feel the same way?

The Current State Of Mobile Workers

Most enterprises have embraced a workforce that utilizes mobile technology. According to Pew Research, 77% of the U.S. population owns a smart device, which has more than doubled since 2011. Over half of Americans also own a tablet.

Businesses have capitalized on this mobile device trend by incorporating the technology into work. The average employee uses 2.3 devices to complete work-related tasks. When implemented correctly, having a mobile workforce can be beneficial. It could increase telecommuting, which could lower some traditional business expenses. Organizations are leveraging the technology to enhancing hiring and to reach potential candidates in new parts of the world. It could also increase productivity. There are some internal challenges with mobility, including security and budgeting. Overall, it can be advantageous.

However, there’s a downside to this technology. Many workers do not want to be connected to their workplace 24/7. A 2018 study from a Virginia Tech professor examined the increasing demands of work and non-work activities for mobile workers. The research revealed that a flexible work situation that is void of boundaries could easily endanger an employee’s health and wellbeing. Even the thought of answering work emails at home could trigger stress.

As for those workers who welcome mobile technology, there could still be complications. Another 2018 survey found that 40% of mobile workers experience stress or anxiety as a direct result of mobile device failures.

How Does A Mobility Leader Feel About Workforce Technology?

Enterprise Mobility Exchange wanted to understand how a mobility leader feels about the role of new technology in the workforce. At the 2018 Enterprise Mobility Transformation Exchange, we spoke to Andrew Dudley, Kalpan’s executive director of product engineering, to learn more about the current impact of mobile devices for employees.

“Right now people are talking about how to track and how to use mobile devices and new technology in order to kind of ‘lasso’ their mobile workforce to get better metrics and to understand what they’re doing during the workday,” said Dudley. “In reality, these new tools and the way that we work/interact with each other don’t lend themselves to a typical 40-hour workweek or an 8-hour day. We are engaged and we are operating within global organizations where we have to react and respond more than 8 hours a day —sometimes on the weekend. I think we need to start talking about how to change our organizational structure or our processes or our expectations of our teams to give more leniencies on the traditional 8-hour day.”

As technologies transform the enterprise and workers become more connected, organizations must be cognizant about how this will impact employee satisfaction. Many workers want (and of course, need) an opportunity to take break from the always-on connectivity.

At the same time, IT leaders are always thinking about new ways to make the mobile experience better for employees. From time to time, they have to reach out to C-Suite about new mobile initiatives.

“The best way to approach C-Suite or any senior executive when it comes to new initiatives is definitely not to talk about how your team operates,” said Dudley. “It’s to identify what their goals are and what really matters to them. Speak to them with that language, talk to them about those business outcomes, and make sure that when you do so, package your team’ agenda or personal team’s needs and what the point you’re trying to get across to them in those terms.”

Watch The Video Response From Kaplan’s Andrew Dudley: