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New research on productivity has found that mobility leads to 30 percent improvement in processes and 23 percent more productivity — and 100 percent more satisfied employees.
An effective mobility strategy must encompass many things. The management culture must empower employees to make decisions about where and when they do their creative work.
Policies must be created and enforced so teams can come together regularly, for example.
It’s also about people having the right tools in their possession as they move in and out of creative and connective work modes.
It would be understandable to assume, given advances in mobile internet and the proliferation of mobile devices, that today’s employees should feel comfortable with being productive on the move.
However, as an Oxford Economics report noted, “only about one-third of employees say they are equipped with the tools they need to work distraction-free when outside the office. This is a prime example of executives not understanding common challenges in the workplace — substantially more say their workers are equipped with the necessary tools than employee responses suggest.”
Digging further into the data reveals deeper levels of dissatisfaction. Sixty-five percent of employees say they prefer a single device for their personal and work lives, rather than different devices for each. Yet only around one-third (36 percent) of employees believe that the devices they use at home or on the road interact seamlessly with work technology.
This issue is particularly important for small and medium businesses as those employees are typically more mobile than those in larger enterprises. So, in an ideal scenario, what kind of tools should small and medium business leaders put in the hands of their employees?
First, tools should be flexible. The deep work carried out in creative roles must then be shared in the connective roles, so staff need tools that support them as they switch between roles.
Tools for creative tasks such as ideation or visualization should also allow for that work to be socialized with others when in connective roles. Essentially, what is needed are adaptable tools that can mirror the behaviors of users as they move in and out of different work modes.
Given that employees want to use the same tools at home as they do at work, these devices should function equally well in both environments.
They should also offer a seamless experience across devices: employees may choose to use different tools in different roles. For example, they may use a desktop for creative work but connect via a tablet or mobile phone. Or it may be that, when inspiration hits, a device used primarily for connectivity is pressed into service as a creative tool (or vice versa).
Finally, they should offer ubiquitous access to data, a scenario made practical by developments in cloud computing. It is now entirely possible for multiple physical workplaces to function as a single virtual workspace.
So, people should not be restricted in where they choose to do their creative work because they don’t have access to the information they need — the right information should always be at hand, wherever they are.
At the heart of the productivity problem lies a paradox. If productivity is a critical priority for small and medium businesses, why have so many businesses put hurdles between their employees and the productivity they need from them?
In my workplace, we’re striving to help businesses solve their individual productivity problems by thinking differently about workplace technology.
We talk with companies and employees across all industries to understand their day-to-day needs, so we can really get under the skin of what’s holding them back from being truly productive.
From this, we create new solutions — and new categories of solutions — that remove the limitations people face whether it’s battery life to get them through a full day on the road, the power to run professional apps on a tablet or a giant touchscreen that lets a full group of people work together.
Because when people aren’t faced with obstacles and when their effort isn’t limited by their tools and environment, they can work more freely, more creatively, more collaboratively.
The productivity problem is there to be solved.
David Darmstandler is CEO of Datapath, an IT services company with headquarters in Modesto. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.