Mobility's Still Not a Given in the Workplace

Friday Dec 2nd 2016 by Pedro Hernandez
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Businesses are still more likely to issue desktop PCs than smartphones or tablets, Gartner finds.

Enterprise mobility may be all the rage, but many businesses haven't gotten the message.

Gartner recently polled over 9,500 workers in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia to determine which devices today's employees used to get their jobs done. Most, 80 percent in fact, were issued a corporate-owned device or two.

The good news ends there, for workers hoping to stay productive on the move, or at least without having to crack open a laptop. Fewer than a quarter of respondents (23 percent) said their organizations supplied them with a smartphone.

Gartner's findings suggest that most work being done on smartphones are done on personal devices.

"The low adoption of corporate-issued mobile devices underlines the fact that large numbers of personally owned mobile devices are used in the workplace," said Gartner principal research analyst Mikako Kitagawa in a statement. "In fact, more than half of employees who used smartphones at work rely solely on their personally owned smartphones."

The bring your own device (BYOD) trend has been a success, with two-thirds of respondents revealing they use their own devices, primarily smartphones and phablets (39 percent), added Kitagawa.

More than half of workers are assigned a desktop PC and more than a third (36 percent) were issued laptops, including the convertible types. Altogether, 75 percent of workers are currently toiling away on company-issued PCs. Over the next three years, Gartner expects that businesses will be doling out more convertible laptops due to increased adoption of Microsoft's touch-enabled Windows 10 operating system.

Tablet use is relatively rare at work, with just 21 percent of users tapping away at either a personal or company-owned slate.

"In the era of mobility, it comes as something of a surprise that corporate usage of smartphones and tablets is not as high as PCs, even when the use of personally owned devices is taken into account," Kitagawa said. "While it's true that the cost of providing mobile devices can quickly escalate, proper usage of mobile devices can increase productivity, which can easily justify the extra costs."

Another good reason for issuing a company-owned device: happier employees.

Gartner found that workers are generally happy with the devices provided by their businesses, especially smartphones and tablets. Fewer than a fifth of respondents said they were dissatisfied with the tech supplied by their firms.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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