At the start of the year, there were 10.55 more smartphones per user than there were employees in the UK. This is based on the Labour Force Survey recording 31.85 million people being in employment throughout the country as of January 2017, while separate estimates acknowledged that there were 42.4 million smartphone users across the nation in the month up to December 2016.
This is a clear sign that smartphones have transformed our day-to-day working practices. However, when another piece of research suggests that seven out of ten 18-24 year olds will check their phones in the middle of the night, is this really a good thing?
United Carlton, an expert in photocopier solutions, argues that it may be wise for employers to allow the post-digital generation to use their smartphones while they are working, as opposed to seeing the gadgets as a means for creating an insecure, inefficient and unproductive workplace. Here’s a look at their reasoning:
The case for smart technology boosting productivity
Productivity could well be improved throughout a workplace that has a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture put in place. When employees are connected to a wireless internet network, they are able to complete tasks in ways that do not limit them to sitting at a desk or having to be in the office.
A study carried out by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group, has highlighted this benefit, by claiming that ‘the average BYOD user across countries saves 37 minutes per week thanks to using their own device.’ This is because these users are working on the go and between ‘dead-times’ in the office when they aren’t stationed at a computer.
Break this down to individual countries and the statistics become even more eye-catching. Users in the United States saved a total of 81 minutes per week by using smart technologies at work, whereas those in Germany saved four minutes per week. Contrary to popular belief, this suggests that globally, smart devices can aid rather than detract from productivity saving efficiencies.
Furthermore, if smart device users are able to implement their own technologies into their working practices, then they are more likely to take work home with them – as these employees are working an extra two hours every day and sending 20 more emails every day. For example, many members of staff are now able to use their smartphone as a mobile printing device; when there is a compatible printer in range connected to the network, users can print from their device without the need to install software to do so. This frees up time during the day as users can print from anywhere in the office, without having to be stationed at their desk and printing from a desktop computer. Cloud storage and printing documents that aren’t saved to hardware are also freeing up the flexibility of working practices and allowing employees to work in ways that weren’t previously possible.
Current views by employers regarding mobile phones being used at work
It is understandable why many employers carry a negative view currently to allowing their employees to access their mobile phones when they are in the workplace. Most employers simply view the smartphone as a distraction that reduces an employee’s ability to complete a task by up to 20 minutes at a time.
According to one small business expert, there’s also the argument that business owners feel compromised in their abilities to draft up company policies regarding mobile phone usage due to being ‘worried staff will spit the dummy at a mobile phone policy,’. However, to counteract this, they suggested that employers ‘should simply show them the math and staff are likely to co-operate because they don’t want to see the company go under or lose their job.’
However, there is plenty of research out there which supports the call for a BYOD culture to be introduced into a workplace. If companies were willing to incorporate a BYOD culture, then they may see what some research validates as being a 16% boost in productivity over a 40-hour week, a 23% rise in job satisfaction and a 21% rise in company loyalty.
Should businesses not be willing to incorporate change into outdated processes, then you could suggest that these operational efficiencies may not be experienced by many for years to come?