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Global Workforce Becoming More Mobile


14 November 2016 at 9:35 am
Wendy Williams
The global workforce is becoming increasingly mobile with more and more people working away from their desks, according to new research.


Wendy Williams | 14 November 2016 at 9:35 am


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Global Workforce Becoming More Mobile
14 November 2016 at 9:35 am

The global workforce is becoming increasingly mobile with more and more people working away from their desks, according to new research.

Strategy Analytics’ latest report, Global Mobile Workforce Forecast Update 2016-2022, reveals as many as 42.5 per cent of the total global workforce – 1.87 billion people – will be mobile employees by 2022.

The findings show globalisation and continued advancements in mobile technology and applications, will continue to increase levels of mobility among executives, consultants, sales and field professionals, and other mobile professionals in all regions.

Strategy Analytics executive director of enterprise research Andrew Brown said North America and Western Europe were leading the mobile worker penetration.

“The mobile workers in these developed regions adopt and use far more mobile technologies (eg laptops, smartphones, tablets, mobile device security, enterprise mobility management, business mobile applications, IoT, big data analytics, mobile cloud and virtual reality) than any other regions,” Brown said.

“Businesses are also continuing to take advantages of telecommuting and offering employees flexible working environments.”

It comes just weeks after a separate study by Officeworks revealed that only 53 per cent of Australian small business owners offered workers the chance to work remotely.

Of 1,000 employees surveyed across Australia, 34 per cent said they would like to work away from the traditional office desk, but only 49 per cent were offered flexible working arrangements, including working remotely and hot desking.

Those who were allowed more flexible work reported benefits including less stress (44 per cent), higher levels of productivity (42 per cent) and feeling happier (40 per cent).

A further finding was that 40 per cent of small businesses believed workers were less productive if they were not offered the opportunity to work outside of the office.

However the need to meet with clients face to face was listed as a key barrier to offering flexible working by small business owners.

Pam Kershaw, who is a freelance corporate writer and works from home, told Pro Bono Australia News that freelancing, by definition, means flexible work.

Her advice for employers struggling to adapt to an expanding agile workforce was to be reasonable.

“Give freelancers adequate time to provide a quote and do the job,” Kershaw said.

“Sometimes work is freelanced out because internal staff are already working under pressure. At the last minute, someone decides to outsource it, and hopes you can do it today and deliver it tomorrow. If you’re a good freelancer who has steady workflow, this can be impossible.”

Kershaw said there were many things organisations could do to establish healthy relationships with workers they rarely see.

“Have an initial meeting. Give clear briefs. Give adequate time for the work. Give feedback. Say ‘thanks’ if someone has gone the extra mile. And pay on time,” she said.

“I have one lovely client who includes me in major social events, and says I’m one of their ‘family’. So if they need something done, I will always fit it in.”

For-purpose organisations wanting to make this growing trend work for their organisation can take part in Pro Bono Australia’s 60-minute webinar on 16 November, Are you in Shape for the Increasingly Flexible Workforce?

Our expert panel, including Kershaw, will unpack how this trend affects for-profit businesses and how organisations can best adapt to the changing market.


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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