With two thirds of the UK population* owning a smartphone, and many more owning tablets or laptops, working ‘on the go’ is becoming the new normal for many industries.
Of course, mobile working encompasses more than just using a smartphone (or any other tech devices); cloud-based software, video integrated meetings and remote collaboration all play a part in creating a successful office on the go.
The typical idea of the travelling salesman is debated as being an outdated one, thanks to both the progression of technology and the normalisation of working outside the traditional office.
While most workers who travel as part of their role might not need to use the hotel business centre anymore, there is still a slight stigma surrounding the idea of being productive whilst on the road, or, indeed, simply working in a venue that isn’t the office – your home, your car or a coffee shop, for example. Many people still see the concept of mobile working as daunting, and suspect that it leads to a lower rate of productivity.
Despite this, in 2016, PwC UK found that remote workers were 48% more likely to rate their job satisfaction as 10/10**. Many of those who regularly work from spaces other than the traditional office also report a higher level of contentment with their working lives, as well as higher levels of productivity and creativity. Overall, it seems mobile working is fast becoming a positive for employees, but what about employers?
Employers with remote or mobile employees benefit from the increased satisfaction of their workers, and the lower overhead costs – when office space comes at a premium, it can be intimidatingly unaffordable for smaller businesses or start-ups. It is therefore no wonder that newer businesses, often led by millennials, are quick to adopt the mobile office concept, recognising the gains to be had in doing so.
Despite the reported positive outcome of mobile working, many businesses are still being plagued by ‘presenteeism’ – that is, the idea that those who work hardest, work longest, and only in the office. Mobile working is the antithesis of this attitude, with employers required to put trust in their employees’ abilities. While the way we use technology has changed, allowing employers to be in contact with their staff 24/7, the nature of working on the go requires a little bit of faith in the individual, and realistic expectations.
Will we ever replace the classic office?
It’s hard to imagine, but there is an obvious trend towards escaping tradition in the workplace, whether it’s in the form of office design, working hours/patterns or changing venues. Mobile working is most definitely here to stay, meetings conducted more outside of the boardroom with room booking apps, and collaboration enhanced by technology advancements.
*Ofcom. 2015. The communications Market Report 2015
**pwc.com/CISworklife. 2016. Work-life 3.0: Understanding how we’ll work next - Consumer Intelligence Series