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Mobile workers ‘need collaboration tools to be productive’

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Mobile working can offer significant benefits for UK companies – allowing employees to work on a variety of web-enabled devices, from any time and any location.

But the productivity gains associated with remote working cannot be taken for granted by organsiations, as a new survey suggests.

Research conducted by social software provider harmon.ie indicates that poor access to collaboration tolls is preventing some mobile workers from getting their jobs done.

Almost nine out of ten traveling executives and managers claimed they cannot work effectively on collaborative projects while on the go.

Half said they have difficulties getting input from colleagues in a timely manner and 41 per cent reported working on potentially out-of-date documents.

Some 54 per cent of survey respondents said their personal productivity levels were affected, while 43 per cent reported missed deadlines.

“We live in an era of what we call BYOD – bring your own device – and with that comes the expectation that every important application and document will be available while walking around with an iPad or smartphone,” said Yaacov Cohen, chief executive of harmon.ie.

“The reality? Not so much. Executives and managers may have their cellphones or laptops at the ready, but their companies are not arming them with a seamless collaborative experience across all devices.”

He said that without the same information, tools and software on their mobile devices as employees have on their desktop, people may be connected but “remain involuntarily out of touch”.

The message to business leaders is clear – if they want to reap the benefits of mobile working, they may have to invest in higher quality tools for their employees.

Or at the very least, they must support a full range of employee devices, even if this requires them to review security processes and other working policies.

Equipping staff with mobile technology, but not the software and applications they need to take advantage of it, makes no economic sense.

If businesses are spending on laptops, smartphones and media tablets, they may as well target the productivity gains associated with mobile working.

Otherwise it amounts to an all-expense, no-benefit scenario – which leaves the company with a hole in its IT budget and little prospect of a financial return.