Consider these statistics — there were an estimated 42.4 million smartphone users throughout the UK in the month up to December 2016, while the Labour Force Survey recorded 31.85 million people were in employment in January 2017. Weigh these up and the fact that there were 10.55 million more smartphones per user than there were employees in the UK gives us a clear indication that such devices have changed our day-to-day working practices.
Is this necessarily a good thing? With research suggesting that seven out of ten 18-24 year olds check their phones during the night, there is certainly cause for concern.
In this guide, North East photocopier solutions provider United Carlton has provided an argument about why it may be a good idea to let the post-digital generation access their smartphones while they are at work.
How smart technologies can help with productivity
Put in place a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture within your workplace and you could be delivering the means to boost productivity among your team. When employees have wireless internet connectivity, 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.
This is underlined by the fact a Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group study claimed 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.
The stats make for even more interesting reading when focused in on specific countries. Users in the United States saved a total of 81 minutes per week by using smart technologies at work, for instance, 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.
How employers view mobile phones and social media in the workplace
There isn’t a positive attitude among employers for staff members to use mobile phones and access social media accounts in the workplace at the moment. This is down to the fact that 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.
One small business expert has also pointed out that business owners feel compromised when it comes to their ability to draft up a company policy on mobile phone usage, as they are ‘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.’
Employers who are sceptical to introducing a BYOD culture into their workplace should consider research which supports such a change. 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.
If businesses aren’t willing to incorporate change into outdated processes, then perhaps these operational efficiencies may not be experienced by many for years to come.