Small business employees might feel like they’re always working, but that doesn’t mean they want to always be at work. With today’s workforce both more connected and more mobile than ever before, the lines between work and leisure continue to blur, especially in small businesses where employees often wear multiple hats.
But a new study finds that despite these realities, many businesses struggle to address the needs of on-the-go employees. The 2015 Mobile Trends in the Workplace survey from theEMPLOYEEapp, found that there is a direct correlation between employee engagement and efficiency and the ability to easily access company information via a mobile platform.
Sixty-two percent of employees said that easy access to company information directly affects job satisfaction, and 51 percent said they are more productive when they can work via a mobile device. However, 41 percent indicated they are unable to access company documents and information that way.
The disconnect stems from the failure of many companies to keep up with new mobile standards. According to Jeff Corbin, founder and CEO of theEMPLOYEEapp, there are two main reasons companies are failing to meet their employees’ needs:
- Hesitancy to replace legacy systems: Many businesses have invested so much in building and populating a corporate intranet that, even though it is less useful today, it’s challenging for companies to consider abandoning the infrastructure. Corbin recommends that companies assess the reality that today’s mobile workplace will likely surpass the old PC environment, especially for small businesses. While many businesses are trying to avoid the investment of an overhaul by optimizing legacy systems, he compares it to the mid-90s when email was new and prompted a sea change in computing norms. “Companies have to realize the mobile working environment will continue to grow, and they need to invest in it,” he says.
- Security concerns: Corbin believes that most companies’ first inclination is to lock down everything to prevent employees fromFor example if there’s a proprietary manual that employees need to reference while working remotely, consider disabling certain functionality, like note taking and sharing. his doesn’t stop an employee from taking their tablet and photocopying something, in reality, of course, it’s no different than someone doing the same at their workplace,” Corbin says.
When employees are engaged, their job satisfaction translates into harder work and better outcomes. “I suspect many small business owners probably underestimate the importance of engagement to revenue generation in their business,” says Corbin. “Employees are the most important constituency of any business, but particularly small businesses. Improving morale and engagement by making it easier for them to work when and where they want can pay dividends that will translate into real profit.”
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