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The latest Deloitte report proves the impact of mobility on workforce productivity

The latest Deloitte Access Economics Mobile Nation report highlights the contribution of mobile devices to the nation's productivity, and predicts it will play a significant role in future economic growth.

"Mobile technology has played a key role in stimulating labour productivity growth since its introduction, by allowing employees to make more productive use of time, and work more efficiently with productivity-enhancing tools such as mobile apps," the report says.

The report, commissioned by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, estimates the economy was around 2 percent or $34 billion larger in 2015 than it would otherwise be because of the long-term productivity benefits of mobile technologies.

The continuing evolution of mobile technologies has delivered significant economic benefits to businesses and broader society. It has improved convenience, with always-available productivity-enhancing tools. It offers more efficient ways to manage, monitor and complete a variety of tasks.

Mobility has also created new ways of engaging with customers and marketing products, as well as introducing a new platform for sales and opportunities for new products and services.

Modern way of life

Mobility has become a ubiquitous feature of modern life. It shapes how people around the world communicate, access information and complete day-to-day tasks.

The previous edition of Mobile Nation estimated that the mobility sector was worth $14.1 billion to the Australian economy and supported more than 56,000 jobs in 2011-12.

Beyond this direct impact, mobility is contributing to the growth of the Australian economy. It contributes to growth in productivity and participation – two of the "three Ps" of economic growth.

More work done

The impact of mobility on participation has not previously been quantified. The latest Mobile Nation report uses a survey of more than 1000 individuals whose participation may be enabled by mobility to estimate extra hours worked because of the ability mobility provides to work remotely and/or meet personal commitments while at work.

On average, these individuals work 0.6 hours more per week than they would if they did not have access to a mobile device.

The report says this extra participation has created an estimated $8.9 billion per year on average in GDP for the Australian economy, with more benefits to come.

Productivity boost

Mobility has also played a key role in stimulating labour productivity growth over the past few years. It is a driving force in connecting people and businesses, stimulating innovation and technological progress, and transforming industries.

Future development of mobile technologies will continue to help shape the Australian economy and drive productivity improvements.

Deloitte points out that Mobility can increase productivity by:

• Increasing the effectiveness of employees or managers, or by saving them time (labour productivity).

• Increasing the effectiveness or reducing the need for computers, vehicles, office space or other capital (capital productivity).

"Improvement in multi-factor productivity is when a business achieves an increase in output with the same level of labour and capital; that is, it has become more effective in generating income," the report says.

"Mobile technologies can increase labour productivity by allowing communication on the go. Workers can utilise these technologies to engage with others in and out of the office as well as accessing information and knowledge through their smartphones during business meetings.

"Mobile technologies can also increase the effectiveness of employees by reducing or eliminating the down time associated with commuting."

Locational barriers removed

The Deloitte report makes particular mention of how mobility and computer technologies have revolutionised the way in which people work, allowing many to work from anywhere and anytime.

It cites research in 2015 that found there are more than 5.7 million adult Australians (representing 49 percent of the total number of employed Australians) who engage in a digital working life where they use internet technologies outside standard working hours or the office.

Traditionally there have been locational barriers for individuals that have limited them from working far away from their homes or offices due to travel and time-related costs.

Locational barriers can also affect employees in terms of workforce participation if they have ongoing responsibilities at home or suffer from unexpected illnesses or life events.

Advancements in mobility have now made it possible for employees to stay connected to the office via their mobile devices.

More change coming

The next wave of the mobility revolution is emerging, the report says, creating new technologies and prospects, and the productivity and participation benefits of mobility are likely to continue to evolve as the technology advances.

Deloitte says this will bring both opportunities and challenges. Individuals will benefit from more flexible roles enabled by Mobility in coming years, decreasing barriers to entering the labour force for those who would like to work.

Businesses will have to consider how to harness the productivity benefits of mobility, while considering how best to leverage technology to give employees the flexibility they seek.

Policy makers should look to the opportunities that mobility provides to contribute to economic growth in years to come.

Managing your Mobility

"Mobility is obviously a huge driver of economic growth and is reshaping our economy," says Peter Hobbins, Vita Enterprise Solutions' Practice Lead for Mobility.

"As the Deloitte report makes clear, having a workforce fully connected with appropriate mobile technology and apps can have major benefits for the employee and employer.

"But like any part of a business, it needs to be managed carefully.

"Vita Enterprise Solutions has the expertise and experience to help your organisation get the most out of these exciting technological advances."


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