How are small business employees using mobile devices in the office, and how is it helping them (or not helping them) get their work done? According to the Sage SMB Survey on Mobile Devices, laptops (used by 80 percent of employees) and smartphones (used by 81 percent) are the devices employees most commonly use to access work-related information remotely when they’re out of the office. At 57 percent, tablets are quickly gaining ground.
The poll of small and midsized business decision-makers whose companies use mobile devices to access data remotely found 88 percent say it has a positive effect on their company’s productivity; just 1 percent say it has a negative effect.
The three most common business uses of devices are
- Keeping business contacts organized (31 percent)
- Scheduling (26 percent)
- Keeping a task list and/or assigning tasks to specific employees (23 percent)
Interestingly, despite the widespread use of mobile devices, the study suggests there’s still a ways to go when it comes to harnessing the full functionality of mobile devices for business tasks. For example, nearly 58 percent of respondents say mobile devices are “not at all useful” for viewing their calendars or tracking their tasks, 63 percent say they are not at all useful for organizing or tracking project status and details, and more than 63 percent say they are not at all useful for accepting payments.
Considering the many apps and tools that are available to handle these tasks, it sounds to me like either employees need some education on what is available for their projects and platforms, or companies need to create better apps and tools because the ones that exist are falling short somehow.
Who’s providing the mobile devices that employees are using for work? More than two-thirds (69 percent) of workers use company-supplied devices; one-third use their own devices for work but don’t get reimbursed for them; and 17 percent use their own devices, which are reimbursed by the company.
If you think employees aren’t using their personal devices for work, consider this: The Sage survey found that smartphones, whether they are provided by the company or by the employee, are used for work nearly 60 percent of the time. That means your company’s sensitive data could be at risk if employees aren’t keeping their smartphones updated with virus protection or following common-sense practices like safeguarding passwords and logging out of apps when they’re done using them. Remind all employees that your business’s computer security policy should be carried through to their personal phones as well—both for your protection and theirs.
Image by Flickr user mikigo (Creative Commons)