Work in a multi-screen world

A smartphone in the morning, maybe a little laptop during the day – we use multiple devices for work. Forrester has pegged the average at 2.3 per employee, the iPass Mobile Workforce Report states the average is 3.5 and, often times, one or more of those devices are purchased and brought to work by the employee.

We are no longer tethered to our desk, nor do we need to be in order to be productive. New forms of connection and delivery are enabling us to choose when, where and how we work.

According to Forrester, the use of smartphones and tablets is beginning to approach – and, in some instances, exceed – the use of more traditional computing devices like desktop PCs and laptops. For example, 35 per cent of employees working at a client site are likely to use a laptop, but 45 per cent are likely to use a smartphone. We’re turning to different devices throughout the course of the day to access critical information and accomplish different tasks.

What is most interesting about mobile adoption is that, contrary to popular belief, it is not driven by generational factors. It is driven purely out of the desire for greater productivity and business success.

Consider field sales teams and the adoption of tablets. In the past, if a question was posed to a sales rep and they could not immediately respond that individual would be forced to return to the office, hunt down the appropriate expert and respond days later. With the power of mobile and social technologies, that same sales person can reach out to experts, gather the required information and respond before leaving the meeting.

I just returned from the 2012 Intranet Global Forum at the Pfizer World Headquarters in New York. What did I bring? Of course, there was the company issued laptop, but that was accompanied by a smartphone and tablet (all purchased by me).

Stephen Rahal is an executive at collaboration company Igloo Software.

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