By: Roy Rasmussen
Gartner forecasts that 38 percent of companies will require employees to bring their own devices to work by 2016, and by 2017 half of all businesses will adopt BYOD. This technological shift represents a sea change in business culture as the traditional workplace gets displaced by the virtual water cooler. Even companies that don’t anticipate adopting BYOD will soon find themselves adjusting to a new business environment where employees, consumers and competitors are accustomed to a cloud-based culture.
The Mobile Workplace
The mobile paradigm transfers the workplace from the office into an environment where employees are often working from home or while traveling. This locale shift alters the 9-to-5 workday into a schedule revolving around 24/7 network up time.
For employees, this means more flexible hours, translating into greater productivity. The Q2 2013 iPass Mobile Workforce Report found that 51 percent of mobile workers put in more than 50 hours a week and 16 percent worked more than 60 hours.
This gain comes with challenges that arise from taking work home. The Q3 2013 iPass report also found over half of mobile employees continue to work on vacation. One dilemma facing the new mobile culture is how to balance workplace demands with employee downtime needs to prevent burnout.
Securing the Mobile Workplace
The new environment also creates challenges for workplace security. The InformationWeek 2013 Mobile Security Survey found the percentage of companies implementing rigorous BYOD security policies lags behind those that are just allowing users to bring in devices. Nearly a quarter of companies have no mobile security training, and half lack enforcement procedures.
To help address this, BlackBerry has invested in developing a new technology called Balance that lets enterprises successfully juggle business and personal concerns on the same devices. Employers can build digital partitions on employee devices that enables users to switch between business and personal profiles without being able to share company files outside their virtual work space. Successfully implementing such technological advances requires a new corporate culture that recognizes the importance of mobile security.
Forbes writer Natalie Burg details how mobile technology is shifting business communications toward a culture of unified communication that consolidates the flow of information into a central channel. Phone calls, letters, emails, instant messages, texts and video conferences can now be integrated around a central cloud platform that makes it easier to find contacts and file conversations. This eliminates productivity lost from sorting through multiple pieces of communication, which can help enterprises recover the lost 28 percent of each workday McKinsey estimates workers spend answering email.
Digital Customer Service
New customer service standards form another component of emerging mobile business culture. A 2012 Synthetix survey found three-quarters of customers prefer to use smartphones for self-service, a quarter would use live chat in situations where they cannot serve themselves and half expect companies to provide service via social media. The benefits of this new customer service culture for enterprises flow from increased customer satisfaction, with 47 percent of companies offering online self-service options reporting increased sales.
About the Author:
Roy Rasmussen, co-author of “Publishing for Publicity,” is a freelance copywriter who helps small businesses get more customers and make more sales. His specialty is helping experts reach their target market with a focused sales message. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, and business coaching.