Study Finds Number of Mobile Workers on the Rise

The availability of advanced mobile technologies and the demand for flexible work schedules have stimulated an upsurge in telecommuters around the globe. A recent report from the research group IDC predicts that the number of mobile workers worldwide could reach as high as 1 billion by the end of 2011, with nearly 75 percent of the U.S. work force considered mobile by then.

According to the IDC study, Worldwide Mobile Worker 2007-2011 Forecast and Analysis, pressure for companies to provide employees with work/life balance programs additionally contributes to the increasing number of telecommuting workers in the United States.

IDC reports that in 2006, the United States had the highest percentage of mobile workers worldwide, with 68 percent of its work force enjoying the flexibility of mobile options. In comparison, 58 percent of Japan’s work force was considered mobile in 2006, but this number is expected to rise to nearly 80 percent by the end of 2011.

A Realistic Option

According to IDC, mobility may be such a realistic option because today’s employees are more comfortable with technology, including mobile devices and remote access technologies. The availability of high-speed networks, public Wi-Fi spots and fix-mobile convergence technology offer employees the chance to work from almost anywhere.

Companies, meanwhile, are developing mobile solutions not only to provide employees with flexible options, but also to reduce corporate leasing requirements, meet industry needs driven by increasing business response times and gain a competitive advantage. Mobilizing the work force, however, comes with challenges.

"Although mobility deployments can bring a number of benefits to companies, they also bring risks associated with sensitive data sitting on small devices that can be easily lost," said Stephen Drake, program director of Mobile Enterprise Services. "Developing a plan around managing and securing devices should be part of any large mobility deployment."

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