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Thursday, 04 January 2007 08:14

Mobile work enthusiasm isn't matched by reality

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Almost half of all workers are keen to pursue the kind of job where they can work anywhere using mobile technology, according to a new survey. To be honest, the biggest surprise in this result is that the figure isn't higher.


The study of small-to-medium-enterprise employees, carried out by Woolcott Research for Vodafone, suffers from the classic disconnect found in this area - if you ask people whether they would like new equipment to use in their jobs, relatively few will say no

So it's hardly a big revelation that 44% of the employees surveyed said that they'd like to spend at least half the working day not stuck in an office, backed up with the appropriate support services.

Similarly, it's no shocker than 40% of staff are bored with deskbound jobs, or that 36% believe that they're less productive when they're bored. But it is a big leap to assume that working on the go will solve all those problems.

While 59% of those surveyed said that mobile working would be critical to the future success of their business, they weren't asked the trickier question: how, exactly? It's very easy to assume, when you're stuck in a drab office after a tedious commute, that the alternative is much more appealing.

Transit would be the first to admit that there are plenty of bonuses to not being tied to a particular work location (commuting is high on the list, as is not catching everyone else's office germs). But there are plenty of downsides.

If you work from home, you'll be fighting off toddlers/dying for a conversation/cursing the fact that the heating isn't working. If you work on the road, you'll soon discover that making long business phone calls in cafes is a challenge, given the noise from machinery, background music and all the other people trying to do the same thing.

And while technology makes this possible, it doesn't come cheap. Mobile calling and data charges still far outstrip their "old-fashioned" counterparts. While the price differential has dropped, notebook PCs still cost more than desktops. And don't even get us started on the hassle of lugging the machine everywhere in case it gets stolen.

Tellingly, only 22% of the surveyed group said they were actually going to look for a new job this year. Whether they'll find one that matches mobile nirvana is anyone's guess, but Transit would plump for no -- because it doesn't really exist.

 


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