What Do People Really Use Mobile Video For in the Workplace?

4 minute read
Marisa Peacock avatar


It’s not a surprise that we remain fascinated by the behaviors of employees. What they do, don’t do or want to do at work not only helps us maximize their productivity, innovate the workforce or better understand their motivation. Previously we’ve examined how employees engage, collaborate and share information. Today, however, we learn more about how they use mobile devices in ways, that, well, engage more than just their workplace.

Working or Watching?

According to Qumu, a business video platform provider, which announced the findings of its June 2011 survey of 2,510 Americans aged 18 and older, a majority of online Americans (64%) are watching online videos at work. Of course, it’s what’s they’re watching that is most interesting.

While a loyal 17% said they were watching online company videos, many more admitted to watching news clips (25%), viral videos (15%), videos posted on social networking sites (12%), sports events/sports clips (11%), television shows (9%), full length feature films (4%) and other online videos (3%). A bold few (3%) even admitted to watching pornographic videos.

Implications of Watching Online Videos at Work

The Internet has long been a source of contention for employers who have worried that the super highway would steal attention away from their employees’ responsibilities. As social media became more prevalent, they put up firewalls to block access to sites that could preoccupy, or otherwise tempt workers. Yet, as social media proved valuable for connecting with customers and users, employers reluctantly re-opened the floodgates. As we know social media usage policies, as well as mobile work policies have been slow to emerge, allowing for ample opportunities for sensitive information to leak out, and for enterprise users to embarrass themselves and their employers by posting questionable content.

But does watching online videos pose a considerable threat? Other than material deemed inappropriate or in violation of sexual harassment, most online videos are pretty harmless. Last year, we talked about how some thought that enterprise 2.0 was making the workforce more inefficient and less productive. Yet, there is also proof that taking a short break from the daily grind can help us refocus and innovate.

A Blurred Line Between Work, Life

Now that more of us own and actively use our smartphones to engage and complete tasks more conveniently, employers may find it more difficult to draw a line between work and personal devices. According to the Qumu’s research, a majority (61%) of online Americans agree that companies should allow employees to use whatever mobile device they choose for work-related tasks, such as reading email and viewing company videos. Of course, such allowances prove challenging for companies, especially since a 90-second video clip is 700 times larger than the average email and there are over 30 combinations of video formats to support for mobile devices.

But it’s not just how to support the amount of data generated by online videos that’s difficult. It’s also unclear how much freedom to give employees. Previous reports suggest that empowering employees makes them more accountable for their actions.

Learning Opportunities

However, it could be that mobile devices make people feel more entitled or able to do things they wouldn’t do at their desktop. For instance, the study showed that almost three out of four online Americans (74%) believe with mobile devices, people will do things they would not normally do on their work computer, namely search for a job (52%), look at porn (47%), browse online dating sites (47%), or research medical information (37%).

Solving the Mobile Video Challenge

Of course, Qumu’s interest in such findings isn’t just out of curiosity. It also happens that it has a solution that could help companies adapt to the challenges posed by video, social media and mobile use. Only companies can outline the do’s and don’ts of social media, mobile and video usage at work. But when it comes to supporting their usage, Qumu can help.

Today, Qumu releases a video platform that includes both the Video Control Center 6.0 and its sister product VideoNet 2.0. The Qumu Video Platform lets the enterprise manage, organize and securely distribute live and on-demand video to each desktop and every mobile viewer, such as iPads, iPhones and Android devices.

Qumu not only helps prevent employees from watching inappropriate videos online, it also helps support more than 30 format and resolution combinations for various mobile devices, enabling employees to watch videos on whatever device they choose.  

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