Trends of Today’s Mobile Workforce

Boston — Oct. 3

Half of information workers in the U.S. now split their time between the office, home and other remote locations, according the Q2 2011 US Workforce Technology And Engagement Online Survey of 4,985 U.S. information workers by Forrester Research Inc., an independent research company. The study sheds new light on today’s increasingly mobile and distributed workforce.

The report also reveals that workers are untethered from the office as they rise in rank. Fifty-three percent of individual workers are office-bound, but that number drops to 35 percent among managers and supervisors, and plummets to just 10 percent among directors and executives.

“Looking out five years, Forrester sees three technology ‘trains’ impacting the future of workforce productivity, innovation and advocacy,” said Matt Brown, vice president and practice leader at Forrester Research. “All three of these trains have left the station: enterprise mobility, enterprise social and cloud services for business.”

The survey also revealed the following:

•    BlackBerry still has the largest installed base of smartphones for work — but Android and Apple devices combined lead the workplace. While 42 percent of workers use RIM BlackBerry, IT departments are supporting more devices, and Apple and Android are starting to cut into RIM’s enterprise dominance: 26 percent of workers now use Android smartphones, and 22 percent use iPhones. “We expect a tsunami of mobile user demand for access to portals, productivity tools, and back-end transactional and reporting systems as these devices make it into the hands of the broader workforce,” Brown said.

•    Gen Y is almost twice as likely as boomers to use social tools — but adoption of enterprise 2.0 technologies is still nascent. Only one in six Gen Y professionals uses social tools. Despite significant and ongoing investment in enterprise social technologies, their roughly seven-year lifespan within enterprises has yielded a maximum of 12 percent adoption within the overall workforce. This market has failed to displace traditional collaboration technologies like email as a preferred way to communicate at work.

•    The use of tablets in the enterprise is exploding. Eleven percent of information workers are using tablets to do their jobs. “Despite a tablet market that’s barely a year old, this is astounding growth,” Brown said.

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