Diving deeper into study data reveals the regional opportunities and benefits of mobile-optimized workplaces
By Chris Kozup, Vice President of Marketing, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
Despite originating the iPhone, arguably the most disruptive technology of modern times, the United States isn’t the global leader in enterprise mobility. Instead, various other geographic regions, from Europe to the Pacific Rim, are out front.
That’s among the notable regional takeaways from our recent global workforce mobility study, conducted in partnership with the respected Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
As we discussed in our previous HPE Newsroom posting, “Mobility Leaders Benefit Significantly Over Laggards” the EIU study findings provide actionable insights into the benefits of optimizing workplace mobility.
Rising Mobility Expectations, Worldwide
When we double-clicked on the study data, an eye-catching finding was the incredibly strong workplace mobility expectation among employees – across all regions. For example, over half (52%) of respondents in Singapore would never work for a company that did not allow them to use their own mobile devices for work.
While less acute elsewhere, in other surveyed regions at least a quarter of employees agreed. This includes Australia/New Zealand (ANZ), where over a third (36%) of employees expressed the sentiment, and Germany, with nearly 30% eschewing enterprise mobility laggards.
In other words, it’s not just about mobility “preference.” Absent mobility, a significant percentage of people won’t work for you at all.
Clearly, today’s talented workers are quite happy to seek a mobilized workplace if yours is not. This substantiates the widely-held belief that the way we work is changing to meet the expectations of GenMobile, which is an ageless demographic best described by an affinity for mobile devices rather than birth year.
Regional Mobility Leaders and Laggards
So which countries are leaders in leveraging mobile devices? In terms of mobilizing fundamental productivity tools – documents and emails – employees in the United Kingdom report the highest rate of mobile access at 82%. Following closely are ANZ and Singapore, both at 78%.
Lagging is Japan, with just over half of employees saying their companies enable mobile access. In fact, Japan was the laggard in all surveyed mobility categories. Consequently, almost a third (32%) of Japanese respondents to say they “don’t know” whether mobility would make them more productive – because, of course, they’ve no basis for comparison.
Interestingly, Japan originally was a mobile data standards pioneer. While such leadership generated strong consumer mobility, it’s failed to translate to the enterprise. This puts Japanese employers at a disadvantage for driving business outcomes, in contrast to their peers worldwide.
Opportunity: Leverage Existing Competencies
Previously, we noted that 100% of employees own a smartphone, or use one at work. However, during our regional analysis, we discovered surprisingly few are permitted to apply their accumulated expertise to workplace tasks.
Put another way, companies spend billions in hard and soft costs on various types of training, but they insufficiently leverage mobility competencies employees already bring to the workplace – for free.
Among employees globally, under a third (31%) are permitted to use a smartphone for work. On the high end are the UAE and UK, at about 40%, with the U.S., at 27%, and Japan, 25%, on the low end.
In short, nearly a decade after smartphones appeared, employers are still struggling to benefit from either a device that’s in everyone’s pocket or the multitude of affordable apps that are proven productivity and creativity enhancers.
By contrast, a decade after the introduction of the “personal computer,” office typewriters were substantively extinct.
"Companies spend billions on training, but insufficiently leverage mobile competencies their employees are bringing to the workplace for free."
Productivity, Innovation, Satisfaction Impacts
As noted in our original article, the study also revealed a clear link between mobility and key workforce metrics like productivity, creativity, job satisfaction and loyalty. Drilling-down regionally uncovers further valuable insights.
For example, employees in Singapore and the UAE most often attribute improved creativity to mobility. It follows that optimizing workplace mobility to maximizing this propensity can lead employers to reap innovation rewards.
On the productivity front, about three quarters of workers in ANZ and Singapore credit mobility with enhancing their productivity, while just over half in the U.S. and France say the same. Companies in regions experiencing lower productivity dividends should ask themselves why their efforts are comparatively weaker and, more importantly, what adjustments they can make to improve competitiveness.
When it comes to job satisfaction, over half of employees in all regions except Japan (the universal laggard) associate mobility with improved well-being. Ergo, companies with the best mobility embrace can expect to gain the most from their workers, regardless of location.
Other interesting regional mobility characteristics include:
- A combination of the ability to work flexibly and collaborating with others correlated strongly with improved productivity in ANZ.
- The ability to work anywhere, anytime was the number one contributor to job satisfaction in the UK
- The greatest impact on loyalty in Singapore, the UAE and the U.S. was hot desking; while in France, Germany and Japan it was collaborating with others.
What it Means for Your Business
As these outcomes from the EIU study suggest, operating effectively globally requires operating effectively locally. By understanding the regional and cultural nuances of your GenMobile workforce, your business can put winning mobility strategies in place.
What's more, there’s no time to lose. With enterprise mobility expectations skyrocketing worldwide, companies in some regions are already ahead of the pack.
To find out how to become a regional mobile-optimization leader, or stay ahead of the rest, access Aruba (a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company)’s “A Network Blueprint to Architect the Digital Workplace” by clicking here http://www.arubanetworks.com/genmobile2016