Bargaining over Mobility

by Sam Morris on September 9, 2014

Are you willing to give to get?

give-get-table

If your organization wants to get real about a mobile workforce, it’s time for it to get to the bargaining table. A functional mobile workforce comes neither from users taking over nor from IT becoming big brother. It comes from compromise. So the question is; what are you willing to give?

If you’re like most organizations, what you want is increased productivity. When you see an iPhone, you think of all the ways your employees can use it to get work done. According to a study by iPass, you are likely to get what you want: mobile workers are on average putting in nearly five hours more a week than the workforce in general. Most mobile users do use their devices for work—but they’re not going to work extra just because they own a smartphone. You’re going to have to give up control first.

Users want flexibility and choice of device. They want to bring their devices to work. That’s what BYOD and consumerization are all about. You will lose the ability to control what device your workforce uses, and that means headaches for IT and all kinds of potential compatibility issues. You will also lose the ability to know where your workers are at all times. From 2005 to 2012, telework grew nearly 80 percent. Employees want to and will work where they choose. The days of being able to watch all your employees in person are over.

Like in any functional relationship, both sides have to give and get. That means that while productivity might be what you want most, giving up control can also get you something else. Believe it or not, a Cisco study revealed that 33 percent of college students and those under the age of 30 said that they would prioritize freedom to use social media and the device of their choice, and work mobility over salary in accepting a job offer.

To create a truly mobile workforce, you’re going to have to compromise. The good news is, so will your future employees.

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