Mobile Workers Are Working Longer Hours than Ever

Why Today’s Mobile Workers Are Working Longer Hours than Ever


Thursday, September 15, 2011 | Staff Writer

Today’s global mobile workers - armed with iPads, smartphones and laptops - are working longer hours, reports mobility services firm iPass in their latest workforce survey on mobile working. So why are these same workers seemingly more content than ever before? The survey indicates that the majority of mobile workers feel empowered by the flexibility of mobile working and cloud services, even if it means clocking in longer work hours. What else can we glean from the  survey? Let’s take a look at the survey results, and what it means for today’s mobile working environment.
 
Morning, Noon and Night: the Mobile Workers 24 Hour Work Cycle

Of the 85,000 individuals surveyed globally, there were 3,000 responses identifying themselves as ‘mobile workers’.  According to iPass spokesperson , 19% of those respondents come from IT, 27% come from research and development (including engineers, architects, doctors and mechanics), 20% from sales, and 6% from marketing.

Mobile workers are using mobile technology and  cloud services to do an impressive amount of work during non-work hours, according to the survey. Of those who responded, 38.3% say they used mobile technology to work in the morning prior to their work commute. Around 24.7% report doing some work during their work commute, and 36.6% say they work during their lunch hour. In the evening hours, 26.6% of respondents report doing some amount of work after the dinner hour, and 18.8% go back to work at night after family responsibilities have been met. Perhaps most surprisingly, only 43.1% of those surveyed say they never work in the middle of the night.

Mobile Working and Worker Empowerment

The results of the survey beg the question: why are so many mobile workers taking time out of their personal lives to work outside of the office? Are employees overextended? Or is the allure of mobile working and the convenience of cloud services so strong that employees are willing to sacrifice sleep to log on and work?

According to the survey feedback, workers report deriving a sense of empowerment from mobile working. Mobility gives workers enough flexibility to control when and where they work, and makes them feel more efficient.  64% of respondents reported feeling that because of mobile technology they were better able to balance work and home life, and 51% said they felt more relaxed as a result of this improved work-life balance.

So it appears that in exchange for the ability to leave the office early to meet personal commitments, workers are more than willing to work before and after their scheduled work hours. However, with the flexibility of mobile technology comes some trade-offs. Today’s mobile workforce is often expected to be available at a moment’s notice, even during holidays.
 
Top 5 reasons mobile workers disconnect from technology
Mobile Workers Are Working Longer Hours than Ever 
Source: iPass
 
Putting Up Personal Boundaries

The survey indicates that today’s mobile workers are more likely than ever to bring their work to the breakfast and dinner table. But what, if anything, could prompt these always-connected workers to put down their iPads and shut off their phones?
  
According to iPass, 48% of mobile workers reported that they were willing to disconnect from technology in order to spend time with family and children. Other top reasons why workers disconnect from mobile working include quiet time during a theater, stage or other public performance (46%), air travel (39%), passing through a connectivity dead zone (39%), and having dinner at home (35%). So, although today’s mobile workforce is working longer hours, it appears that workers are also willing to carve out niches of personal time and put up boundaries when necessary.
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