Mobile Tech and the Battle for Employee Attention

by Sasha Viasasha
August 16, 2018

What are your employees doing all day? There’s no need to wonder, go to the data. That’s what the Auckland-based estate planners at Perpetual Guardian did. Founder Andrew Barnes, discovered that across the globe, knowledge workers are spending less than three hours of their work day productively employed on average. The rest is lost to searching for information and other needless distractions. He resolved not to live in that kind of world.

Another report Barnes read concluded that distractions at work resulted in similar productivity loss profiles as sleep deprivation or smoking marijuana. His answer was to condense the work week to 4 days and provide tools to help employees get more done during work hours.

Some of those tools made it possible to compact standing meetings from 2 hours down to 30 minutes, and to establish on a standardized signal letting colleagues know that workers needed to concentrate on a difficult task. Reducing demands on workers can free them up to create their own ideal working conditions. Likewise, mobile tech that allows workers to stay connected and access the information they need to do their work can significantly boost productivity. 

After studying the results of this experiment, Jarrod Haar, human resources professor at Auckland University of Technology, observed that Perpetual Guardian’s employees were a 24 percent happier with their work-life balance, which translated into better productivity numbers. Haar wrote, “Supervisors said staff were more creative, their attendance was better, they were on time, and they didn’t leave early or take long breaks.”

Barnes also noted the larger implications for his own operational costs and quality of life in the big picture. With less people in the office for less time, his company’s electric bills dropped by 20 percent. Not only that, he said, “You’ve got 20 percent of cars off the road in rush hour; there are implications for urban design, such as smaller offices.”

Solving the world’s productivity puzzle will take original ideas like this, and mobile tech can be an employer’s best ally in eliminating waste.

It hasn’t always worked out that way, though. There are positives and negatives to mobile tech. On one hand, many firms have reported how mobile tech has sped up their sales cycles, kept the team connected even on the road in remote locations, and eliminated massive cost centers like on-premise phone systems. On the other hand, there’s no doubt that employee mobile phones can be a major source of distractions. It all depends with how you manage your mobile network.

A study by CareerBuilder found that 55 percent of bosses consider personal mobile phones to be the biggest productivity killers in the workplace, yet only 10 percent of employees agree. One of the main reasons for the disconnect is employers often assume that employees looking at their phones are taking care of personal business, not work tasks.

The fact is that employees prefer accessing information – even business related messaging and the web-based information workers need to do their jobs – from the personalized interface on their own phones.

The simplicity of the UI (user interface) on smartphones was constrained out of necessity by the tiny screen space and the limitations of device memory. This has resulted in a cleaner presentation overall, with fewer on-screen options, larger windows, and simpler designs.

All things being equal, simpler is better--and workers instinctively respond to that. 

It can take a vast amount of attentional energy to sort through on-screen information to find what you are looking for. Smartphones, configured to match the personal preferences and learning styles of their owners, tend to be much simpler and less stressful to use.

For the past two years, New Zealanders have spent more time on mobile devices than they have on traditional land lines and that transition is accelerating as support for land lines fades away.

Mobile is the new face of business – anywhere, anytime – and employees are simply ahead of the curve in many ways.

Making it easier for workers to take their work with them can increase job satisfaction, productivity and positively impact the bottom line. 

At Spoke Phone, we've designed a virtual phone system that delivers all the power and functionality of an enterprise class PBX, and allows workers to take and make calls from their personal devices, while keeping all your business data secure in the application. Across the room or across the globe, users can make, take and transfer calls from their own smartphones, while maintaining a professional business identify and masking their own phone numbers. 

For field workers and employees on the go, navigating patchy connectivity, our solution allows them to seamlessly transition between wifi (VoIP calling) and their carrier network, without even disrupting the phone call. 

Whether you are taking  phone calls from a car, in and out of the office, or just in an area with unreliable or temperamental WIFI, it can be incredibly frustrating to have your phone calls disrupted by jitter and latency, or dropped completely. 

Spoke has solved this problem  by working in two modes depending on your environment. HD calling (using VoIP) for when you’ve got great WiFi or 4G data, and carrier calling that uses your carrier’s voice network for when your data signal is not so reliable. 

Our smart interface boosts productivity by helping you team make and take more calls, and routing incoming calls to the nearest available user. We're also building productivity features to help your team record notes and capture voice information on the go.  

Applications like Spoke can help workers stay organized and focused on tasks even in a world full of distractions. 

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