How can Wi-Fi influence productivity within the workplace?
It’s clear that Wi-Fi has revolutionised the way that we work and live. When we are connected to the internet, as employees we can work on projects without any need to be tied to a computer or a device that is not mobile.
When connected to a reliable online network, employees and the business as a whole can become more flexible within the working day – whilst being more susceptible to change. This is because employees can work in more flexible ways by using their smart device anywhere in the office. Although this idea seems reasonable in theory, one question to ask is how has Wi-Fi connectivity improved employee productivity?
Wi-Fi and the nature of the BYOD culture
Now popular in many workplaces, the BYOD culture is when an employee brings their own smart device to work. Whether it’s a mobile phone, tablet or a laptop, employees are able to use these devices as part of their working practices on a day-to-day basis when connected to a Wi-Fi network.
A mobile internet connection can help businesses utilise BYOD concepts and boost productivity, when used correctly. As a result of always being connected to the internet, employees can attend to tasks in ways they couldn’t before. For example, workers can reply to emails on their way to a meeting or outside of the office, as well as also work on tasks during dead-time in the day; i.e. when they are not stationed at a computer.
Research conducted by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group has suggested that ‘the average BYOD user across countries saves 37 minutes per week thanks to using their own device’. In addition to this, users in the United States saved a total of 81 minutes per week, whilst those in Germany saved four minutes per week. Although some countries are saving more time and are being more productive than others, what this suggests is that globally, Wi-Fi networks combined with a BYOD culture is leading to an accrued saving of time, as opposed to wasted time inside and outside of the working day.
When connected to a Wi-Fi server as an employee invested in BYOD culture, those using their device are set to work an extra two hours every day, whilst sending 20 more emails every day. This is time that is not within the working day too but an impressive addition to the time employees are working outside of normal hours, benefitting employers and how much work they are gaining from their employees. This is likely to be because employees are more comfortable and more aware of how to use their own devices.
By implementing these practices, although employees are becoming more productive, it is also costing businesses money. Such businesses have to spend more money than ever before on security measures that make sure businesses and employees are protected from malicious hacks into Wi-Fi servers, as well as anti-malware, encryption methods and passcodes to help keep information secure. Business Wi-Fi providers, such as KBR, are utilising methods that provide safe Wi-Fi solutions to businesses that need to stay connected.
Shifting priorities within the workplace
Limiting the benefits that can be gained from the BYOD culture, many businesses are still unsure as to what benefits its can bring. The answer to this isn’t as straight-forward as corporations would like it to be. The answer is that although employees are more connected, they will spend more time during the day checking their own personal devices for updates.
Any employer wants employees that are going to be around the business for a large majority of the working day and week; when something goes wrong in an employee’s personal life, they may be able to deal with the situation from the office – meaning that work can still be done and a worker doesn’t have to leave the office to deal with a situation.
Wi-Fi on a global scale
Disengaged employees account for a cost of $3,400 for every $10,000 USD worth of salary that is produced in the United States. That means for every starting salary of £16,376 in the UK, this can cost an employer £5,569 worth of disengagement. As research suggests, what makes employees more engaged is a mobile device and a reliable Wi-Fi connection.
After surveying 1,865 employees, The Economist Intelligence Unit found that those who were connected to the internet on a smart device contributed to a 16% boost in productivity for their workplace, as well as a 18% boost in the actual creativity of employees when at work.
One employee contributing a 16% boost to productivity can account for an increased workload of 6.4 hours per week, which makes up 41 extra working days a year – based on 40 hours per week. If more employees every year adopt to this type of working culture, then the efficiency savings that can be made are endless.
It’s not only productivity rates that increased – job satisfaction jumped by 23% and loyalty to the company was boosted by 21%. This is probably down to the fact that employees can feel empowered when using their own smart-device. Therefore, workers are made to feel that they are trusted to work on their own tasks independently throughout the day.
Based on businesses that need employees to be connected to the internet at all times, employees are able to make the most of their time within a BYOD culture at work – leading to increased levels of productivity. Mobile devices are increasing the independence of people across the globe, so it is no surprise that this trend has integrated itself into the workplace. If employers want to get the most out of employees, then trusting them with mobile devices connected to a safe Wi-Fi network is arguably the best option to choose.