Earlier this month, the Labor Department announced that—for the third straight quarter—U.S. worker productivity dipped, representing the longest such decline in nearly 40 years. In the age of rapid technological evolution, the productivity slump has left pundits on both sides of the aisle puzzled.
There are many factors that contribute to that productivity figure. But is it possible that the cause of the productivity slump can be traced to the fact that there are still a number of businesses that haven’t yet made mobility a top priority?
After all, a lot of today’s workers—including banking professionals, traders, and others in the financial sector—are constantly on the go. From meeting with clients to attending conferences to traveling across the country to learn about a new company, many of these workers are outside their offices for significant periods of time over the course of a year.
A majority of the workers that fall into that category have been given the tools they need to remain productive on the road. According to a recent infographic from Dell, 60% of professionals have access to a smartphone at work—a clear majority.
But as for the technology-deprived 40%? More than three-quarters of that group—31% of workers—indicated they would like their employers to equip them with mobile devices.
That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. According to Pew, 64% of U.S. adults own a smartphone—which means a significant number of employees who work at companies that don’t give them mobile devices likely have smartphones of their own. They are all too familiar with how useful the devices can be in their personal lives. Why shouldn’t they be able to use the technology in their professional lives?
Ask anyone who’s recently worked at an office that relies on outdated technology and they’ll tell you the same thing: It’s frustrating, to say the least. Whereas many of their peers are using the latest mobile technologies—their employers understand the link between mobility and productivity—these workers are forced to rely on legacy technologies which, quite simply, make their jobs more difficult than they need to be.
Instead of being able to access their UC tools and business communications from home or on the road, for example, some employees are only able to communicate with their business partners when they’re physically inside their offices. Imagine traveling to a conference or a business meeting across town and being unable to access your mission-critical contacts and communications—knowing full well that, in today’s day and age, there’s really no reason for that to be the case.
In addition to being discouraging—the fact that a company is relying on 10-year-old technology isn’t exactly inspiring—it’s impossible for these workers to reach their full potential. They have to wait until they get back to the office to wrap things up.
It’s true that as a workaround, some companies allow their employees to bring their own devices to work. But BYOD doesn’t really help a lot of folks in the financial sector who deal with confidential information on a daily basis. Such data simply cannot live on unauthorized devices.
If the lack of investment in mobility isn’t the root cause of the productivity slump, it’s at least a contributing factor.
But all hope is not lost. When companies give their employees the tools they need to become fully productive mobile workers, they gain an additional 240 hours—or six working weeks—per team member. Multiply that over the entire economy, and it begins to become evident how the productivity numbers might start trending in the right direction if serious investments in mobility were made.
For financial professionals to reach peak productivity, they need to be able to securely communicate with their business partners—both internal and external—wherever they happen to be at any given time. By investing in communications services that were built with security and mobility top of mind, this is easily accomplished.
To learn more about how organizations can become more productive through investments in secure mobile communications services, please click here. Who knows? With your help, we may see those productivity numbers start to improve.