By 2009, one-quarter of the world’s working population will be mobile workers, according to a July 2007 study issued by Cisco Systems Inc., titled “Understanding and Managing the Mobile Workforce.” What kind of work is being done by mobile workers? There are five kinds of mobile workers 1. On site movers: work at one site, but move around within it, e.g. security guards and IT Technicians, 2. Yo-Yo’s: occasionally work away from a fixed location, e.g. jobs that require business trips, 3. Pendulums: alternate between working at two fixed locations, e.g. the company office and a client’s office or home office, 4. Nomads: work in a number of different places and constantly move between them, e.g. a sales rep calling on many customers a day, and last but not least is, 5. Carriers: work while they move, transporting goods or people, e.g. train conductors and airline attendants. Two of the major issues that are faced by mobile workers are telecommuting, as well as health.
With today’s technology employers and employees are able to do work from anywhere so long as they have a modem and internet access is available. Physical locations are not what they use to be, with video conferencing, virtual networks and email we are able to stay connected with the office without having to be in the office, and it avoids employers and employees having to carry all kinds of cables in order to connect.
Although we have advanced in many ways with all the different concessions made towards technology employers are concerned that mobile employees will not be able to push themselves without the proper supervision. Many mobile workers lack sufficient technology tools to get their jobs done efficiently, a situation that can lead to great stress.
There may be an issue that arises if customers want to speak face to face as opposed to using the new modern route, being that not everyone adapts to change. Another issue that can be visited is the cost associated with installing all the necessary equipment for employees that will work from home instead of at the office. Health issues that may arise, are that with travel it can make it difficult to for the traveling individuals to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eating, exercise and sleep, as well as isolation from support of colleagues can allow mental strain to build up to unhealthy levels.
With the advancement of technology it is safe to say that things will continue to evolve well into the future. We may not know what the future holds; however it shows promise of more great things to come.
The future office will be increasingly mobile, with technology enabling employees to perform their jobs from virtually anywhere, according to Office of the Future: 2020, a research study recently released by OfficeTeam. But greater control over where and how people work won’t necessarily translate into more free time. Forty-two percent of executives polled said they believe employees will be working more hours in the next 10 to 15 years.
Technology tools to provide even greater flexibility — Miniature wireless devices, WiFi, WiMax and mobile technology will continue to allow a company’s staff to work outside of the office with greater ease. Additionally, virtual environments and web-based conferencing services will provide off-site employees with real-time access to meetings, reducing the need to travel.
Telecommuting to rise — improved wireless connectivity will allow for an increasingly flexible workforce. Eighty-seven percent of executives surveyed believe telecommuting will increase in the next 10 to 15 years. Telecommuting enables employees to work where it’s most convenient, but it also challenges their interpersonal skills. They must build relationships with coworkers while having fewer in-person interactions.
- http://www.hrworld.com/features/trends-managing-012908/ - Trends: Managing the Mobile Worker
- http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/08/21/Mobile-workers-still-struggling-with-security_1.html - Mobile workers still struggling with security
- http://www.iaap-hq.org/ResearchTrends/Office_of_Future_2020.htm - Office of the Future: 2020