Staff mobility is now mainstream in Australia with half of all businesses stating it is conceivable for their staff to work away from the office. Close to nine in ten (88 per cent) of these organisations have introduced policies to enable staff to work from home or away from the office, but for the majority (60 per cent) the policies remain informal rather than formal.
Almost two-thirds of businesses with a staff mobility policy confirm the policy is delivering business value. One-third reports a tangible return on investment (ROI), while almost three in ten say they are realising intangible benefits such as improvements in staff satisfaction, morale, a reduction in absenteeism and improved productivity. These are among the major findings of the Sage Australia Business Index 2013, a study of Australian business attitudes, concerns and trends.
Large and medium sized organisations are most likely to say they could theoretically have a mobile staff policy (97 per cent and 81 per cent respectively). Medium businesses are the most likely to act on this potential, with three-quarters of those who believe staff mobility is feasible, enacting a formal or informal policy. This compares to six in ten (62 per cent) large businesses. Only one in eight (12 per cent) organisations does not allow staff mobility other than in extenuating circumstances.
Email is the most commonly used application when working at home or away from the office, followed by company file shares, drives and servers; company knowledge management and collaboration tools; accounting systems and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
The willingness to embrace mobility appears to be driven by weakening performance and business confidence among Australian businesses in 2013 compared to 2012. With an expectation of leaner times ahead, large numbers of Australian companies of all sizes are turning to staff and enterprise mobility initiatives as a means of achieving productivity improvements.
Mobile enabling the business
Beyond the question of allowing staff to work away from the office, the Sage Australia Business Index 2013 found that Australian businesses are also increasingly mobile enabling the workplace to facilitate connections between systems, staff, customers and suppliers.
Over half (53 per cent) of all Australian companies and eight in ten medium sized businesses believe mobile enabling the workplace is relevant to their business. Two-thirds of these organisations have, or are currently implementing mobile enabled workplace systems. Among the remaining one-third, six in ten plan to implement mobile enabled systems within the next 24 months.
The majority of businesses that have implemented, or are implementing, a mobile enabled workplace are using mobility to connect staff with each other, share business data between staff and to connect with customers and suppliers in real time.
Businesses that are engaged in enterprise mobility say their strategies are advanced, working well and more than half are seeing some form of value or return. The two core perceived benefits are improvements in staff productivity and communication, both of which out-ranked the more directly measurable benefits of business cost reduction and revenue gains.
The research provides insightful outcomes in relation to the benefits that have been enjoyed by businesses that embrace mobility technology in the workforce. Sage MicrOpay’s Meridian ESP Mobile solution has been designed and developed for today’s workforce and helps businesses and employees stay nimble and efficient. To find out how we can assist you to become more mobile with your workforce, click here.