Small businesses that are adopting “mobile workstyles”—that is, allowing their employees to work whenever, wherever and however they choose—are enjoying productivity gains of more than 30 percent, according to new research sponsored by Citrix.
If your small business doesn’t yet offer remote or mobile work as an option, you might soon be in the minority. In the study, which polled small businesses worldwide, one-third of small business owners say there’s “more pressure” to offer or increase their mobile and flexible work options compared to five years ago.
Employees were the biggest source of the pressure. Nearly 30 percent report their employees are asking for remote work options. That’s more than the number offering remote work to meet budget considerations, improve productivity or enjoy competitive advantages.
BYOD, Bring Your Own Device
The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), trend is a major factor in the growing demand for remote work.
In 42 percent of global small businesses, employees in all departments, not just remote workers or customer-facing staff, are now asking if they can use their personal devices for business.
In fact, employees in 68 percent of American small businesses already use personal devices for work. Employees want BYOD because they claim it makes their lives easier, enabling them to manage both their personal and business lives as the line between the two blurs.
What Devices Are Most Useful in Remote Work?
While tablets are key business tools for 25 percent of respondents, they’re still far behind smartphones in terms of importance. Sixty-five percent of survey respondents name smartphones as their most-relied-on device, compared to just 58 percent who cite desktop computers.
Small businesses are increasingly using social collaboration tools such as video conferencing, with nearly half of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that these tools make meetings more productive. Collaboration tools are growing in popularity both because they’re getting easier to use (cited by 39 percent) and because they’re increasingly necessary to deal with widely dispersed work teams and customers (says 32 percent).
Driven by easier access to high-definition video, 52 percent of small business owners regularly use video conferencing in their businesses, and nearly half say it makes their companies more productive.
Being more efficient in meetings is especially important since 27 percent of senior execs polled say they’re spending more time in meetings than they did five years ago.
With summer in full swing, it’s interesting to note that small business owners believe remote/mobile work can solve a common problem – decreased productivity during the summer months. Forty-one percent say that a mobile strategy could help employees be more productive during this time.
What Do These Survey Results Mean to You?
Clearly, remote work is not going anywhere soon.
With both employees and the 24/7 nature of business demanding it, smart small businesses will develop policies to keep their data secure, manage devices and lay out expectations for how employees should work when they’re out of the office.
If you’re still resisting the concept of remote work, it’s time to give in or risk becoming a dinosaur.
BYOD Photo via Shutterstock