Firms ‘must try harder’ to manage mobile culture risks

5288349613_9de89d560e_oCompanies are failing to manage the work-life balance and security issues around use of mobile devices, a report has claimed.

The Economist Intelligence Unit report, sponsored by HP, said the use of mobile devices is driving an array of positive changes in working practices. However, the ‘always on’ nature of the technology is affecting work-life balance and fanning anxieties about security and privacy.

The authors surveyed 316 executives across the globe and concluded that companies have considerable work to do to manage these cultural shifts and put adequate security systems in place.

“The use of employee-owned devices has created tightly drawn battle lines between the flexibility of “work anywhere” freedom and the burden of 24/7 attachment to the job,” said the report

On the positive side, almost half of those surveyed (49%) said using a mobile device boosts innovation, with 39% saying they are more on top of their jobs and 37% saying they are more efficient with the connectivity.

However, many workers are struggling with work-life balance. Only 33% said their work life balance had improved and only 29% felt they were setting effective boundaries. Executives also worried about mobile security and privacy, but felt they do not have the knowledge to manage those concerns.

The report said “communication of company policies is often passive and enforcement anaemic”. Many executives believe the policies in place reflect compliance needs (58%) rather than actual risks (49%), and 23% admit to skirting the rules.

Additionally, the survey found that company support for the use of personal mobile devices is limited, with only 51% rating company IT support strong or very strong.

It’s in businesses’ interests to get this right. Quoted in the report, vice chairman and US technology, media and telecom leader at Deloitte Eric Openshaw, said: “The reality is that for most enterprises, the connected worker enabled by BYOD extends the workday significantly. It’s recognised that employees deliver more, and the return is pretty good for the company.”

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/reticulating/

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