In our previous article, Exploring mobile working and its benefits, we detailed the concept of mobile working and how it clearly has become interesting and how the potential benefits are too many and too good to be ignored. However, has mobile working gained as much popularity as it should have? Have individuals and organisations started adopting mobile working to the extent we would have wished? Probably not – let us explore some reasons why.
In the current state of technological advancement, the technology surely exists to enable successful mobile working. However, it is more a question of whether individuals and organisations are leveraging the same rather than a question of availability. Remember that mobile working adoption requires both investments in technology infrastructure as well as an organisation wide cultural change. How many organisations would invest in providing employees with smartphones, smart tablets and Ultrabook in addition to access to high speed internet and sophisticated IT infrastructure? Technology, in context of adoption and investment is a major barrier for mobile working.
Lack of policy
As mentioned earlier, adopting mobile working requires major changes to an organisation’s culture and operating processes. If employees were given the option to work remote, all associated processes will need to be changed and customised to the new ways of working. Every department from HR, Finance to IT will need to be involved in this transformation and policies pertaining to them will need to redesigned and in many cases, created from scratch. Lack of policies is a major barrier to mobile working and its adoption.
Health and wellbeing
Employees who work mobile, usually work for longer hours than those are in the office. In this context, a research published in the Lancet by University College of London (UCL) shows that employees working 55 hours or more per week have a tendency of developing 33 per cent increased risk of stroke compared to employees who work for 30-40 hours.
Mobile working will render the good old desktop connected to a wired corporate LAN into an obsolete artefact. However, will the brand-new smartphone and the iPad connected to a personal or public wireless internet connection be as safe and secure as the desktop? Employees will use the internet at their homes, public places or somewhere outside of the secure corporate premises – will their devices be secured and protected enough to prevent any untoward incidents? What if the mobile device gets lost and that too one that contains proprietary information? Who will safeguard privacy and provide data security on a mobile device? Even if one argues that today we have enough technology at our disposal to provide robust and strong security to our mobile devices, lack of information security measures is a critical barrier to mobile working.
Stay tuned for our next article to learn how an organisation can implement mobile working culture within its workforce and workplace.
 Working long hours linked to higher risk of stroke, 20 August 2015, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0815/20082015-working-long-hours-stroke-risk