With telecommuting and an increasingly mobile workforce becoming the norm, a new study has uncovered that communications footprints within businesses are not keeping up with the trends. As a result, mobile workers are seeing a significant productivity gap—to the tune of $5,000 per year per employee.
According to new research from Webtorials sponsored by Sonus Networks, approximately two-thirds of all enterprise knowledge workers are mobile at least 25 percent of the time — a number that is growing with the rise of smartphones and tablets. For instance, 63 percent of respondents indicated that smartphone use is “extensive” or “widespread” in their enterprise. But the productivity gap between mobile and onsite workers is not going away, caused by a lack of access not only to corporate resources but also the ability to reach employees in a timely manner. Approximately 18% of projects are delayed because of ineffective team collaboration and an estimated 16% of projects are delayed because a decision-maker could not be reached, the study shows.
This, gap, conservatively estimated, results in a productivity loss of 2.5 hours per week per employee. Averaging typical salaries, the report found that extending unified communications to mobile workers may restore more than $500,000 in lost productivity per 100 employees—a significant chunk of change for a small- to medium-sized business, and a rule of thumb that translates to a big revenue loss for larger enterprises.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that many companies already have some form of UC implemented for workers within the four walls of the office building. But without a mobility component, employees can’t make UC a part of their daily business flows when they have to be out of on the road. For instance, enterprise workers listed “sharing files” and “participating in a multimedia conference” as the two most “painful” tasks to perform when working offsite.
“Mobility has become an integral piece of the UC puzzle for enterprises,” said Steve Taylor, editor-in-chief and publisher for Webtorials. “Enterprises must push their unified communications capabilities beyond the office walls if they wish to get the maximum return on investment from their technology investments and the employees who use them.”
The report, dubbed Mobile Unified Communications: The Emergence of 4D Convergence, also found that among medium-to-large enterprises, mobile UC is actually on the rise as IT realizes that UC capabilities could be critical to the success of an increasingly mobile workforce. Nearly one in three enterprises have already implemented a “widespread” or “extensive” deployment of mobile UC in their networks, the study found.
“Enabling mobility across the enterprise should be the first consideration as companies plan their UC deployments and that means having a robust, open-standard, SIP-based communications architecture in place that can support employees no matter where they are or what device they use,” said Wes Durow, vice president of global marketing at Sonus.