Perspectives

More and more people are using their smartphones for work

Yet the potential to employ smartphones in our work life is far from exhausted

Mobile technology enables people to work during their leisure time – as well as facilitating private communication in the workplace. 68% of the people surveyed in Switzerland say that they use their smartphone for work during their leisure time, with 29% stating they do so often or very often. At the same time, 84% use their phones for personal matters during working hours. While smartphones are currently mainly used for communication in the professional and personal spheres, the device is set to become a toolbox providing a multitude of working tools in the future.

A strict separation of work and leisure has become the exception rather than the rule in today’s world. Only one in every ten out of more than 1,000 people surveyed in Switzerland stated that they do not use their mobile phone for business purposes outside working hours or for personal purposes during working hours.

People who use their smartphone for both work and personal tasks can be divided into four groups:

  1. The smallest group, at 6%, are those who use their smartphone for work during their free time but never for personal matters during working hours.
  2. The second smallest group (10%) are people who strictly separate their professional and personal lives. The majority of this group (61%) are females and tend to be older.
  3. Almost four times bigger than the first group (23%) is the group of people who use their phones for personal matters during working hours, but never for work during leisure time. Here again the majority are women. Most people only occasionally check their social media profiles or exchange personal messages during working hours. However a good third admit to doing this frequently or very frequently.
  4. The vast majority of employees in Switzerland (62%) mix work and leisure equally on their mobile phones, with men in the majority (58%) of this group.

The most important business uses are email (48%), telephoning (44%), appointment management (36%) and texting (35%). Just under one tenth of respondents use their smartphone to manage administrative processes, such as recording expenses, planning work assignments, billing hours or handling projects.

The increased use of smartphones for administrative processes has great potential for increasing efficiency, enabling companies to save costs and remain competitive. In addition, employees will be relieved of onerous paperwork, giving them more time for creative tasks. - Roger Lay, Director of Mobile Enterprise at Deloitte Digital

A simple and intuitive user interface on the smartphone will make it possible to fully integrate and digitise separate and complex process steps at this point. Furthermore, the integration of new technologies, such as augmented reality (AR), will enable the smartphone to completely transform the way it works.

EXAMPLE 1: A personal trainer can manage appointments and training sessions more easily on a smartphone and bill clients in an automated process. She can also continuously measure her clients' vital data and send them individual graphs showing their progress directly after training without having to return to the office.

EXAMPLE 2: Using a smartphone, a mechanic can project instructions or information directly over his workbench, enabling him to work more precisely and quickly. During maintenance work, a smartphone app can identify material weaknesses or display complex work processes directly on the device, step by step.

The world of work is increasingly focused on greater flexibility, collaboration and connectivity. The new digital technologies place the relationship between employees and companies on a completely new footing. The flexible, independent use of mobile devices is an essential element in the new world of work. - Myriam Denk, Partner and Future of Work Lead at Deloitte Switzerland

The increased use of digital mobile technology also necessitates investment in cyber security. Incorrect entries could spread quickly or unauthorised personnel could gain access to data and systems. Data protection must also be guaranteed and precisely defined and checked in terms of which customer information may be used and how.

Furthermore, the individual risks associated with greater flexibility at work must not be overlooked. Thus, it is also important to use the smartphone conscientiously and responsibly in the work environment. Employers need to make their employees aware of this and should issue regulations if necessary.

Many Swiss companies have failed to make sufficient use of digitalisation to advance in productivity in recent years. Smartphones can play a major role in leveraging the benefits of digitization in people's work environments. This will enable companies to boost their competitiveness and productivity and to secure jobs in Switzerland. - Bjørnar Jensen, Managing Partner Consulting at Deloitte Switzerland

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