In today’s society, everything is connected; from the Internet of Things to ever-present social media, every device and every person are in constant contact with one another. While our world is becoming more and more connected, there is a disconnect forming in the business world, between technological change and organisational habits.
A new report from Deloitte outlines the gap between technology and businesses, and identifies it as one of the forces driving major change in the workplace. While technological change is increasing at an accelerating pace, business productivity is growing slowly and linearly (as seen in the figure below). The cause of this gap, Deloitte says, is how businesses organize and manage themselves and their employees.
The gap in performance potential between technology and businesses can be further broken down into smaller gaps related to four main aspects: technology, individuals, businesses and public policy (we'll be focusing on the first three for this example). The figure below shows technology is changing at an almost exponential rate, and that individuals are not far behind in adopting these new technologies. However, businesses are slower than individuals in terms of adopting to new technologies, which is creating a disconnect between the two groups.
The Mobile Disconnect
While there are many reasons behind the gap between individual and business rate of technological adoption, we at Nudge have identified one aspect that is particularly pressing: the ‘mobile disconnect’. The ‘mobile disconnect’ relates to the use of mobile devices within the workplace and the gap in understanding the benefits mobile and BYOD can bring to organisations and their employees.
Why is it a problem?
The ‘mobile disconnect’ causes two problems: lost productivity and a lack of trust. Nudge Rewards recently conducted a survey of 1,000 Millennial and 1,000 Gen X employees in the UK workforce across a variety of industries. We found 51% of employees believe using mobile devices at work helps them do their job better. Despite this fact, only 23% of those surveyed said they felt encouraged to use mobile devices when at work. In customer facing roles, the top uses of mobile at work were communicating with colleagues, answering customer questions, and accessing additional product information - all of which enhance the customer experience and in turn, help increase sales.
Potential productivity and revenue are lost when employees are not encouraged - or worse, actively discouraged - to use mobile devices at work. Employees know using their mobile devices helps them with their jobs, but 42% worry their managers think they're using their mobile devices for personal reasons and 30% use them discreetly in order to avoid judgment. All in all, 29% believe there is a trust issue around using mobile devices at work. Considering Millennials highly value open relationships with managers, a lack of trust is detrimental to an organization.
What causes the mobile disconnect?
1. Late Adoption. Organizations have been late to adopt mobile technologies and BYOD policies, especially in industries with highly distributed workforces such as retail and hospitality. Of employees working in these sectors, only 5% feel the use of personal devices is encouraged in the workplace, despite having BYOD acceptance rates of approximately 30%. With smartphone penetration rates upwards of 80% in the UK, organisations are now playing a game of catch up with their employees.
2. Broken Telephone. The 'mobile disconnect' is also occurring due to lack of communication, resulting in confusion and misunderstanding between employees and management. Employees are unsure if they're allowed to use their mobile devices in the workplace, with 26% completely unaware of their organization's BYOD policy.
3. Lack of Trust. Two thirds of employees (62%) identify cultural barriers to using their mobile devices at work. Even when using mobile for work purposes, employees still experience worry, fear, and a lack of trust when using their phones at work. These feelings discourage employees further from using their devices, despite their belief that they help them do their jobs better.
The use of mobile devices in the workplace is increasing significantly, while organisations and their BYOD policies are being left behind. The disconnect between companies and their employees is leading to lost productivity and is being exacerbated in sectors with dispersed, non-desk workforces, such as retail and hospitality. To learn more about the mobile disconnect and how your business can start benefiting from using mobile technology at work, take a look Nudge Rewards' 2017 Market Research Report.