Though many IT departments have expressed frustration with the data security implications of employee-owned mobile devices, a new study conducted by iPass found that smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices greatly enhance employee productivity.
In a survey of 3,700 mobile employees from 1,100 global enterprises, the study found that mobile employees tend to work 240 more hours than the general population. This, evidently, is largely attributable to mobile devices.
According to the study, 94 percent of mobile workers own a smartphone, and 41 percent own a tablet. Of the tablet owners, 27 percent said the device was provided by their employer, though 87 percent said they use their tablets for work.
While the productivity benefits of tablets and smartphones are apparent, the study also found that mobile devices may be presenting some problems as well. According to the report, mobile employees are becoming reliant on their devices not only in work-related situations but also in their personal lives.
Of those surveyed, 91 percent said they use their smartphones during personal downtime. This may involve using the device for pleasure, but the study also found 38 percent of respondents have woken up in the middle of the night to check their smartphones, while another 35 percent check email first thing in the morning.
Furthermore, nearly a third of mobile workers admitted that mobile technology has led to some sort of friction in their personal lives. Workers who sleep with their smartphones within arm's reach were 10 percent more likely to indicate their handset has caused a rift in their personal lives.
How employees choose to use their mobile devices should be largely up to them. However, it may be beneficial for organizations to establish best practices that guide usage. In addition to helping ensure employees don't use their devices to expose sensitive business information, this can also keep some employees from becoming obsessed with their devices.