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Summary:

A new survey by collaboration tools company harmon.ie reveals that working while you’re on the go is far from painless, finding that while mobile working is hugely common, remote collaboration tools are still slowing productivity, leading to errors and causing headaches.

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Look around any airport, restaurant or train platform and the sea of faces buried in smartphones and tablets will immediately confirm your suspicion that we’re increasingly working on the go. But while the ability to get online anywhere with portable devices may be allowing us to be more productive out of the office than ever before, a new survey released today from collaboration tools company harmon.ie reveals remote collaboration is still far from painless.

The survey asked 500 U.S. respondents about their mobile working habits and unsurprisingly found that as a nation we’re pretty addicted to working outside the office. Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed told harmon.ie they finish documents, proposals or presentations while on the road, with 56 percent of respondents admitting to working with documents while in a restaurant and 29 percent while stuck in traffic. One in seven even admitted to conducting business while in the bathroom. A measly three percent said that they have no need to collaborate with coworkers while outside of the office.

With our mobile working addiction reaching the typing while on the toilet stage, you might think that we’d have collectively perfected our tools and processes for being productive on the go. But according to harmon.ie’s results you’d be wrong. A shocking 84 percent of traveling executives and managers reported that they cannot work effectively while on-the-go, despite their iPads and smartphones. Other figured from the survey back up this picture of less than perfectly productive mobile workers:

  • 54 percent of those surveyed reported lower personal productivity while on the go
  • 43 percent reported that they are often missing key information to complete a project
  • 32 percent said that they often make mistakes in critical documents while on the go
  • 56 percent of executives admitted to project delays or missed deadlines because of poor mobile collaboration; 38 percent missed business opportunities altogether
  • Half of all respondents reported difficulties in getting input from colleagues in a timely manner
  • 41 percent said they work off potentially out-of-date documents

“We live in an era of what we call BYOD and with that comes the expectation that every important application and document will be available while walking around with an iPad or smartphone,” said Yaacov Cohen, CEO of harmon.ie. “The reality? Not so much.”

Does this mesh with your experience – despite all your gadgets do you still struggle to be maximally productive while on the go?

Image courtesy of Flickr user Ed Yourdon

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  1. Earl E. Adopter Thursday, June 14, 2012

    While I completely agree with Yaacov Cohen about “the “expectation that every important application and document will be available while walking around with an iPad or smartphone,” I disagree with his reality of “Not so much”.

    I’ll admit I’ve been known to finish my presos on the golf course, but never while driving.

    I’ve found one service that actually does make it possible for me to get my work done sooner, and I’ve been using it since 2005. I can edit, annotate, sync, print, fax, share (there are always new features being added), and work together on any of my business files with my teams and clients safely, even offline, without internet.
    The annotating of files and editing of ppt, excel, word, etc. ability came a couple years ago and wasn’t my preferred way to work on them given the size of my phone’s screen then, but it was a lifesaver when I needed to make changes to a contract on the spot or else lose the account. Now, all department mgrs and teams have an iPad, and we use Soonr (that’s what it’s
    called) all the time to update spreadsheets and graghs for our reports and presentations. They are based in CA.

  2. It would be useful if you linked to the actual study from within your post. I’m one of those that like to see the actual study details before I’m comfortable with the “takeaways” from it.

    Cheers,
    Chel

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