Last updated on 5. February 2021Digitalisation creates an ever increasing level of flexibility in very different areas. The associated trend of flexible working time models is being debated intensely in the media, not least with focus on the workplace of the future. When competing for qualified staff, flexible working time models and mobile working have become convincing arguments in gaining employees. Temporal autonomy, flexibility and combining family and career can be realised in this way. For companies, a certain profitability also results from the concept: Scientists of the German Institute of Economic Research (IW) found out that the number of total working hours per day is higher than in the conventional working time model. It also shows clearly, that mobile working increases employees’ job satisfaction.
Working from anywhere: Flexibilisation gains ground
From a legal point of view, mobile working resembles teleworking: a connection is set up to the company using information and communication technology. The German Workplace Regulation § 2 section 7 defines teleworking as follows:
„Tele workplaces are permanently installed workspaces with a monitor provided by an employer in the private living area of employees, for which the employer has agreed with the employee a weekly working time and length of the arrangement.“
Unlike teleworking, mobile working is, in principle, not tied to one workplace – neither necessarily a workspace within somebody’s own four walls. Increasingly efficient mobile end devices allow employees to undertake a variety of activities out and about. Studies suggest that mobile working is more and more finding its way into day-to-day work: 73 % of the respondents surveyed as part of the “Global Workshifting Index“ produced by Citrix Systems want to ensure improved mobility of their employees, 61 % of those responsible want to allow employees a higher degree of freedom of choice regarding their workplace. New working time models are to ensure in 92 % of companies, that mobile working becomes more attractive for employees and is therefore strongly encouraged. Almost half the participants of the study – 45 % – expect that staff costs can also be reduced by mobile working. The calculation: some activities can be outsourced to freelance staff, who will not require a workplace within the company at all.
Advantages of mobile Working
One of the many potentials of mobile working is that the workplace no longer needs to be visited every day. With greater location-independence, employees avoid stressful and sometimes expensive travel to and from work during rush hour. Therefore, staff is additionally granted a lot more flexibility regarding their time management. In this way, time can be used much more efficiently, for example while travelling by train or plane. Furthermore, the topic of combining family and career comes to the fore. However, here critics also see direct risks. Employees may feel forced to be available around the clock.
In practice, these fears have hardly appeared to have come true. A study compiled by spring Messe Management GmbH in cooperation with the University of Applied Science in Berlin (HTW) shows clear results: 34 % of the respondents rate the design of working time as better, 19 % even rated it as much better. Only a minority of 12 % assessed mobile working as worse.
Key Issue: Ensure Data Protection
From the companies’ point of view, there are challenges that have to be overcome. In particular, data protection has to be guaranteed, which applies to both personal and company data. Mobile end devices, e.g. netbooks, notebooks, tablets and, to some extent, smartphones in themselves present a risk, as the devices can be stolen or hacked. Within a locked office, the infrastructure can be secured better; many companies even do without WLAN altogether. Generally, local storage of sensitive data on devices should be avoided to ensure a high level of security.
The trend has therefore defined new requirements to existing workplace solutions: The mobile workplace of the future originates from the cloud. Providers, such as oneclick and Microsoft, make all applications available directly via the cloud and protect company data in high security servers. oneclick makes the virtual workplace accessible for users directly via the browser. There are various advantages to this: if there is a loss of a mobile devices, data is not lost. No manual synchronisation has to take place to secure work results. Furthermore, there are no restrictions regarding the operating system, which is particularly important with regard to mobile working.
There is a variety of different end devices, using completely different operating systems. However, working in a browser sidesteps compatibility issues and allows the interface to be tailored individually to the different device sizes. CPU utilisation of the devices is kept to a minimum, as data is processed in the cloud, which in turn has an immediate positive impact on battery life. In this way, working productively is possible even on less powerful end devices.
Exploit Opportunities to become mobile
One thing is clear: a key trend in industry and trade is increasing flexibilisation. This flexibilisation is not only required from customers, it also expands to an ever greater degree across the working environment and has an impact on existing working time models. Information is no longer spatially bound to the office and it is therefore becoming easier to work on a mobile terminal device or from a home office. First experiences already show, that both employers and employees benefit from the opportunities of mobile working. The big challenge is to secure data protection. Solutions from the cloud ensure protection of data at any time and excellent workflow – all over the world.
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