It goes without saying that improved enterprise mobility is a good thing for business. Right? Putting enterprise applications into the hands of employees makes companies more productive, more efficient and they get the most out of their staff.

But there’s the rub for some pundits in this space. By enabling access to back-end systems on smart mobile devices, employees are not just able to work anywhere -- they’re able to work anytime too. With businesses trying to compete in a challenging economic climate, there’s concern that employers could view enterprise mobility as a way of pressuring staff to work out of hours and on weekends, as they no longer have the excuse of not being connected to essential applications.

To Worry or Not To Worry

Is this a legitimate concern? Perhaps, but for me, this is looking at enterprise mobility and the workforce the wrong way. I firmly believe that connecting people back to their office, wherever they are, can actually improve job satisfaction and help to both retain and attract talent.

Why? One of the biggest frustrations for employees who do the majority of their work on the road is the need to replicate a lot of this work once they’re back at their desktop connection, simply because they haven’t been able to access and communicate in real-time with enterprise systems while they’ve been in the field.

Instead of getting confirmation on a sales order at a customer’s premises, they’ve had to log the details and then re-log them again once they’re back in the office or at home. Only then can they sign the deal off.

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The "double-entry blues" is still rife among the mobile workforce. Without mobile apps that integrate with back-end systems in real time, the problems of lag times and poor synchronization between work processes and systems of record continue.

It’s not only an inefficient way of working, but it’s also incredibly frustrating for employees, as often the time they’re spending catching up with orders and jobs is their own, which doesn’t make for a great work/life balance.

Companies simply can’t allow this type of culture to continue. Employees shouldn’t have to waste their time on double-entry and employers need to recognize what a tremendous drain on resources and morale this can be. Sure, they can be pressured to be always on, but managers and work teams can arrive at equilibrium on this issue without shutting themselves off from the benefits of being connected and mobile.

What a Good Enterprise Should Be

The modern enterprise should be about empowering its workforce to do the best job possible -- and increasingly this is something that employees will expect and look for when moving to new roles. As a consequence, those companies that aren’t able to offer comprehensive enterprise mobility may find that they’re struggling to retain and attract the best talent, severely impacting their brand as a prospective employer.

Companies that don’t properly mobilize their workforce are endangering both their competitiveness and their reputation, because the simple truth is that satisfied and fulfilled employees make for a better business.

Image courtesy of Diego Cervo (Shutterstock)