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Posted on August 6, 2018 by staff

Mobile critical yet 10m workers still ‘shackled’ to desk

Working smarter is a core goal for many businesses across the UK, yet almost a third of the country’s working population could be using smartphones to be more productive at work.

According to new research from Deloitte, based on survey responses from 3,369 UK workers, 10.4 million people could be working smarter just by using smartphones in their job.

‘Mobile Readiness for Work’ found that of the 32.3 million people in work in the UK, the majority (51 per cent) spend some time away from a fixed location for their role.

Of all these workers, only 37 per cent currently use a smartphone or tablet for work purposes, with the rest either using a PC, other devices such as handheld electronic devices or no technology at all.

This means that there are 10.4 million employees – almost a third of the UK’s working population – who do not spend all of their time at a fixed location and also do not use a mobile device.

“For any role that requires movement, mobile technology should be essential,” said Deloitte’s head of TMT in the North West Claire Jolly. “Almost one in three UK workers do not use a mobile device, despite spending a proportion of their time working away from a desk.

“There is a clear opportunity to narrow the productivity gap through improving the technology that is issued to employees.

“With every year tablets and smartphones become more capable: they are more powerful, secure and connect faster.

“Many consumer processes, from payments to travel to consulting doctors, have been re-designed for a mobile screen and the same revolution can now benefit the UK’s businesses.

“UK workers can unshackle themselves from their desks and leave their bulky laptops behind. The smartphone will play a pivotal role in transforming the workplace and significantly improve productivity.”

As technology becomes more sophisticated and apps become more available, employers will likely respond by deploying mobile more widely believes Jolly.

“The smartphone will no doubt become used for a broader range of work processes, with the PC becoming a more specialised device used for more complex tasks, such as data analysis, which require a larger screen,” she said.

Paul Lee, partner and head of research for technology, media and telecommunications at Deloitte, added: “For consumers, smartphones have become integral to many aspects of their daily lives, but this revolution has yet to happen in the workplace.

“Businesses should make core processes accessible via mobile devices. In many cases this may require the creation of a brand new app: the existing PC based application cannot be simply dragged and dropped into a smaller space.”

Significantly, the research also revealed a proportion of workers that are ‘doubling-up’ tasks by not being ‘digital-first’.

On average, 24 per cent of workers fill out forms on paper. Of these, two thirds then copy data onto a digital format, most commonly using a PC. This means that more than five million people in the UK are doubling up on some tasks.