With the advancements in Wi-Fi technology, employees can remain connected to the internet all day, without being tied down to a hardware device such as a computer that can’t be moved from a desk.
The combination of a reliable online network and a mobile device has meant that the workplace has become more flexible, less dictated by timescales, and more susceptible to rapid changes.
How has it impacted employee productivity? Together with KBR, business Wi-Fi providers, this article will explore how mobile internet connectivity has impacted the workplace and establish just how Wi-Fi has made the workplace more efficient and productive.
The relationship between Wi-Fi and BYOD culture
Bring your own device, or BYOD, is a growing trend in the workplace that allows employees to bring their own smart device, whether it is a mobile-phone a tablet or a laptop, and use it as part of their working practice when using a Wi-Fi network.
There are many instances, when used correctly, where BYOD and a mobile internet connection can boost productivity. As a result of always being connected to the internet, employees can attend to tasks in ways they couldn’t before.
For example, workers can reply to emails on their way to a meeting or outside of the office, and can also work on tasks during dead-time in the day, when they are not stationed at a computer.
A study conducted by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group found that ‘the average BYOD user across countries saves 37 minutes per week thanks to using their own device.’ In addition to this, users in the United States saved a total of 81 minutes per week, whilst Germany saved four minutes per week.
Although some countries are saving more time and being more productive than others, what this suggests is that globally, Wi-Fi networks combined with a BYOD culture is leading to an accrued saving of time, as opposed to wasted time inside and outside of the working day.
Regarding time outside of the working day, it is estimated that a BYOD and the connected employee is working an extra two hours every day and sending 20 more emails every day, which is an impressive addition to productivity within the working week outside of designated working hours. This is likely to be because employees are more comfortable, and more aware of how to use their own devices.
However, this increase in productivity does come at a cost; businesses have to spend more money than ever before on security measures that make sure businesses and employees are protected from malicious hacks into Wi-Fi servers, and anti-malware, encryption methods and passcodes are all used to help keep information secure.
Shifting priorities within the workplace
The burning debate within many businesses, is whether or not increased Wi-Fi connectivity leads to increased distractions when using smartphones in the office. The answer to this question isn’t as straight-forward as corporations would like it to be.
The answer is that although employees are more connected, they will spend more time during the day checking their own personal devices for updates. However, this works both ways.
Any employer wants employees that are going to be around the business for a large majority of the working day and week; when something goes wrong in an employee’s personal life, they may be able to deal with the situation from the office – meaning that work can still be done and a worker doesn’t have to leave the office to deal with a situation.
Wi-Fi around the globe
Disengaged employees account for a cost of $3,400 for every $10,000 USD worth of salary in the United States. That means for every starting salary of £16,376 in the UK, this can cost an employer £5,569 worth of disengagement. As research suggests, what makes employees more engaged is a mobile device and a reliable Wi-Fi connection.
Based on a study from the Economist Intelligence Unit surveying 1,865 employees, those who were connected to the internet on a mobile device contributed a 16% boost in productivity for that business, and a 18% boost in the actual creativity of employees when at work.
Based on a 40 hour working week, this means that one employee contributing a 16% productivity boost accounts 6.4 hours per week, which accounts for 41 working days a year. If more employees than just one become motivated by mobile technologies, then the savings in productivity efficiencies can become abundant.
As well as productivity, it was established that job satisfaction increased by 23%, and loyalty to the company increased by 21%. This is probably down to the fact that employees can feel empowered when using their own smart-device, therefore, workers are made to feel that they are trusted to work on their own tasks independently throughout the day.
What is clear, is that businesses who adopt a BYOD and interconnected Wi-Fi policy within the workplace are the ones who succeed when it comes to increased levels of productivity.
Mobile devices are increasing the independence of people across the globe, and it is no surprise that this trend has integrated itself into the workplace; if employers want to get the most out of employees, then trusting them with mobile devices connected to a safe Wi-Fi network is the best option to choose.