Mobile devices may have helped to make work an anywhere, anytime proposition, but business on the go also has its challenges. One of the biggest problems mobile workers encounter, according to a study from the file-sharing service provider Soonr, arises when they try to collaborate on business documents and stay up to date on company projects.
People are increasingly choosing to share work documents via e-mail instead of through public file-sharing services, according to Soonr's "2014 Mobility in the Workplace Study." Seventy-three percent of the 1,000 U.S. employees surveyed by Soonr said they preferred e-mail (compared to 69 percent in 2013) over file-sharing services (47 percent used these in 2014, compared to 52 percent in 2013).
"The good news is that the message has resonated that public file-sharing devices may be exposing business data to risk, and employees have taken heed," the Soonr report stated. "But it's impacting employees' freedom to work where and when they need, and potentially making them less productive as a result."
Going Less Mobile
As the Soonr survey revealed, more employees in 2014 appeared to be returning to their main offices to get work done. Seventy-five percent of respondents said they worked regularly in their companies' main offices last year, compared to 69 percent in 2013.
At the same time, the proportion of people taking their work off-site dropped last year. Just 39 percent reported working regularly from home in 2014, compared to 66 percent in 2013, while 30 percent said they worked on the road or from other remote locations, compared to 59 percent in the previous year.
"This shift in where employees are working may be indicative of the fact that employees can only be at their most productive when they have easy file access to their most up-to-date content, in their main office, where they know that their content is both readily available and secure," the Soonr study noted.
That recognition by employees would appear to explain why "keeping everyone up to date" on work projects and files was the number-one collaboration challenge they reported last year; 67 percent named this as a top problem in 2014, compared to 26 percent in 2013.
Not Comfortable with Cloud Sharing
Growing concerns about the security of their business data also seem to be driving more people back to the main office for work, the survey found. More than four out of five respondents (83 percent) said they were worried about the security and privacy of their files, and 27 percent acknowledged feeling uncomfortable about sharing data via e-mail.
At the same time, only 22 percent of employees said their companies used approved file-sharing or file management systems. That likely was a contributing factor to other problems reported by workers, including difficulty sharing large files with customers and co-workers (46 percent); difficulty viewing files remotely (32 percent); and even missing deadlines (17 percent); or losing a sales prospect (15 percent) due to problems with document collaboration.
"In addition to security and privacy concerns with e-mail and other file-sharing options, nearly a third (31 percent) of employees aren't comfortable with current cloud-sharing solutions," said Ahmet Tuncay, CEO of Soonr. "This leaves room for growth by enterprise-grade file-sharing players who can offer features on par with end-user and business expectations."
Posted: 2015-01-15 @ 7:10pm PT
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