Is Your Business Ready For A Mobile Workforce?

Research from O2 reveals that in the next two years, two thirds (65%) of British businesses expect 30% more of their employees – equivalent to just over 7 million people – to become mobile workers as the demand to work more flexibly, on the move, out of the office or from home expands.

This cultural step change by the British workforce is forcing businesses to modernise the way they work. In response, 72% of British companies are putting in place plans to transform their communications infrastructure, with 85% focusing on flexible working. As a result, over two thirds (67%) of businesses are already moving towards a growing trend of ‘consumerisation’, by allowing employees to connect their personal devices to the business network.

O2’s findings suggest such progress will deliver huge benefits to UK businesses. Those identified by businesses include:

  • Improved business agility (91%)
  • Cost savings (83%)
  • Improved productivity across the business (79%)

To help businesses realise this potential, O2 shared insight drawn from its ‘Bring-Your-Own’ (BYO) programme, which it launched in December 2011. A first for the telecoms business, BYO is now used by 60% (1,787 employees) of O2’s Slough HQ workforce and continues to grow. Employees are empowered to access the network via their personal devices, helping to improve their productivity and work/life balance, by enabling them to shape their own ways of working on the devices they like best.

David Plumb, General Manager of Enterprise at Telefónica UK said: “We started our BYO programme by asking industry IT decision makers and employees, as well as our own staff to find out what they wanted from consumerisation. Since BYO launched in December, we have received ongoing feedback about the ease of working while out and about, giving them greater work/life balance.

“Financially, we have also seen cost savings already overtake the money spent to launch the programme. As a result, the BYO programme has been a great success and we are now planning to use the UK blueprint for a wider global deployment across the entire Telefónica business.”

Ben Dowd, O2 Business Director, said: “Building on the success of our flexible working pilot, the Bring-Your-Own trial is the next phase in our journey to empower our staff to use their own devices. Following the success of the trial in the UK, O2 has a wealth of learnings and experience that we can share with enterprises thinking of introducing a similar programme.

“We understand that businesses want more from their network and it’s only by truly walking in our customers’ shoes that we can deliver expert tailored advice and help. From choosing and setting up software to answering questions on what pitfalls to avoid, we want to apply our own learnings to give much-needed guidance so that our customers can concentrate on what they do best – running their business.”

As more businesses change to consumerisation and this way of working, 85% of enterprises are now moving to a fully consolidated voice, mobile and data network to provide them with the ease of having one supplier as a result of extra devices being on the network. More than half (55%) of enterprises surveyed said that they now consider consolidation a high priority for their business, an increase of nearly a quarter (24%) since 2011.

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Christian Harris is editor and publisher of BCW. Christian has over 20 years' publishing experience and in that time has contributed to most major IT magazines and Web sites in the UK. He launched BCW in 2009 as he felt there was a need for honest and personal commentary on a wide range of business computing issues. Christian has a BA (Hons) in Publishing from the London College of Communication.