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Why work on your computer when you have a phone?

Mobile phone with videoconferencing app

Regulations on the use of mobile devices at work may still be lurking somewhere in the print and virtual archives of many companies. But like so many things these days, the law has been overtaken by events.

Moreover, available statistics and anecdotal evidence show that cell phones and tablets are soon replacing desktop computers and laptops in a world that is now entering the second year of remote work. If 93 percent of surveyed people in a study commissioned by Samsung in 2017 used their mobile phones for work, we can only expect those numbers to have grown up in the post-Covid world. Take our survey.

More to the point, use of mobile phones is leading to longer work hours:

  • Also in 2017, the average mobile worker works 240 hours a year longer than the general population, according to iPass.
  • The same report shows that 58 percent of mobile workers who sleep with their smartphone within arm’s reach wake, at least occasionally, during the night to check it, and 11 percent wake every night.

Long gone are the days when mobile phones were seen as unwelcome distractions in the workplace. Thus, even in the pre-Covid days, the benefits of BYOD were already evident, according to this roundup of stats provided by Perillon:

  • According to a 2017 Google study, 75 percent of people say their smartphones make them more productive.
  • Among IT executives, 82 percent said smartphones are highly important to employee productivity. (Samsung/Oxford Economics, 2018)
  • In 2016, a report by Apperian showed that 53 percent of executives said apps improve business processes and increase productivity.

The unsaid takeaway of these numbers is that the lines between private and professional are blurring. Chances are that in the hybrid workplace that is now becoming the new normal people are as likely to use their cell phones at work for personal reasons as they are to check on work at the dinner table or in bed.

Yet for all the evidence, companies are being slow in catching up with this sea-change in work habits, Perillon’s review shows:

  • According to a remote work survey by PwC released in January 2021, only 22 percent of companies are providing mobile experience for work applications and data.
  • Companies are also behind in dealing with security concerns over the use of personal devices for work:

67 percent of respondents in a Ponemon Institute/Keeper Security survey conducted last year said it adversely affected company security policies. In the same study, 55 percent of respondents said mobiles were the most vulnerable flank.

This change is now here to stay as Cisco projects 27.1 billion devices connected to the Internet (more than 3 devices for every person in the world). According to a December 2020 Pew Research report, only 20 percent of Americans worked from home before the Covid pandemic; that number rose to 71 percent, with 54 percent indicating they would like to continue working remotely after the pandemic ended.

Desktop computers are not going anywhere. Yet like helpless Goliaths, they can only look on as mobile devices give them a run for their money. Are you on team David? Take our survey to share what you think.