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BizReport : Research archives : September 19, 2011

How mobile is changing the workplace

Chatting at the watercooler is no longer a favorite pastime at work. Today, employees are tweeting, watching online video and checking email while on the clock. That isn't necessarily a bad thing - because workers are also working longer hours and taking work home to be done via laptop or tablet device. Of course, that brings up other potential problems.

by Kristina Knight

"Not only does that change the dynamic for a company's own employees - freeing them from their desks and conference rooms that used to be the traditional places where work was done - but it also changes how your employees work with your customers, prospects and channel partners," said Joe Gustafson, Brainshark CEO. "When you look at what businesspeople are using mobile connections for, one of the top three uses - just after accessing email and contact information - is accessing business content. It's content that helps employees do their jobs and helps them sell, learn and communicate."

Brainshark's recent app releases are one way businesses are making it simpler for employees to connect with consumers, other businesses and co-workers. One of the problems is that employees are so connected they may not be taking enough time away from their screens. Gustafson believes this is one area where managers need to get creative with their workers.

"A trainer with one of our customers did a daily video presentation for their sales teams with different themes for each day of the week. While most days it was a short coaching presentation, the Friday theme was always about work-life balance tips," said Gustafson. "So while employees were still connected, it was a mental break, in that they could just sit back and enjoy the video while learning something - and do it at any time of the day that worked for them."

Gustafson's top suggestions for making sure workers aren't over-worked is to help prioritize communications so that employees don't feel they have to check email 24/7, and for managers to be clear about when and how they can be contacted with questions or issues. He also suggests making time away from the screen, especially during personal/off work time, and even prioritizing work-related apps so that those apps aren't a distraction during weekend or evening hours.

Tags: Brainshark, Joe Gustafson, mobile marketing, mobile productivity, mobile trends, mobile workplace

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