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Managing risks of mobile device usage in the workplace

How does your company manage risks associated with distractions of employees using mobile devices on the job? If you support a mobile workforce, you’re likely tackling the balancing act of deploying, supporting, and managing wireless solutions that benefit the business in a cost-effective manner.  Ensuring that employees follow company policies on appropriate use also important. It’s no secret that mobile device usage is up in the workplace. More workers, either in a vehicle, on the job site, or in the workplace need access to different applications, at different times, depending on the job they’re doing. They also need access to their personal apps, when appropriate. Managing risks associated with the distractions mobile devices present is a critical component of a comprehensive mobility program and tools such as Contextual Mobile Management can help.

The deskless worker can be found everywhere. They are delivery drivers. They are on the manufacturing floor. They are heavy machine operators. They are healthcare workers. Think about it. Where have you seen a “mobile” device being used? The term “mobile” sometimes makes us think – cell phone. Well, mobile can be a smart phone, a tablet, a scanner, or any connected device. Now think about how many applications there are, today, for each activity we do – productivity, tracking, forms, safety protocols, delivery scheduling, maintenance, the list goes on and on.

The ubiquitous use of mobile technology in the workplace, and the explosion of work-related apps collides with the tradeoffs companies face by asking workers to do work processes while staring at a screen — adding incremental distractions on the job. So, how do you manage to give your mobile workforce the access to the tools they need and reduce the number of distractions they are faced with as they move about their day? How do you, as a company, benefit from the right mobile usage at the right time?

Mobile device management is not new. These management platforms focus only on what’s on the device or the network the user is accessing. Protecting the company and its data is only one part of the equation. What’s missing is the ability for that device management tool to “know” when a mobile user is in a specific work zone or in a vehicle, or around a production area where being distracted creates serious risk.

Contextual Mobile Management (CMM) is a way to detect workplace events, like movement, location, or proximity and trigger relevant management and enforcement of mobile device policies. Essentially, CMM allows for dynamic adjustment of app controls based on the workers changing environment. It lets your policy set the rules, giving your employees access to everything they need when they need it, and never when they don’t. You decide what apps are accessible based on the work environment. When the environment changes, so do the permissions. Our partner, Truce Software, provides CMM for fleets and enterprises to reduce the risk of distractions of mobile devices in the workplace.

Let’s look at couple of environments where mobile workers spend their time on any given day and how CMM can help balance the need and the distractions.

On the Go

While nearly half (40%) of commercial accidents are due to distracted driving and one in four U.S. traffic incidents are caused by the use of mobile phones1,2, being “on the go” isn’t just a distracted driving issue. With workers having access to the applications they need while irrelevant apps are suppressed, CMM can prevent distraction-related incidents from occurring in the first place. In fact, based on a composite organization of 5,500 CMM-protected field workers there is a 360% 3-year ROI when implementing this platform with significant cost savings in both vehicle damage and auto-liability policies.3

On the Job Site and On Premises

Juggling personal and work demands during the workday creates distractions for workers. In a recent Google survey4, TRUCE found that 89% of workers surveyed attempted to block distractions by putting their device in silent mode when they are trying to get things done. With the right policies in place, workers can have access to the tools they need – like job orders, order picking, maintenance logs and be limited to those they don’t need – like email or text messages, games, and other apps. With the CMM platform, the contextual awareness policies are enforced as the worker moves from one environment to the next, whether that’s on a dig crew around heavy equipment or managing a production line.

Benefits of Mobile Device Usage Need Balance

Companies are quickly learning the need to effectively balance the usage of mobile technologies with safety and compliance requirements is paramount. Enforcing mobile-usage policies with CMM, will help organizations achieve the dual goal of protecting the organization while enabling their employees to get their most important work done while they’re on the job site. Ultimately, CMM is not about controlling end user devices, but rather enabling employees to access apps at the right time in the right place. TRUCE’s patented CMM platform helps companies of all sizes keep their employees safe and productive while enabling mobility across the workplace.

OVATION helps enterprises of all sizes define their mobility program and while offering a full suite of Managed Services to help ensure the program is deployed and managed in a successful and effective manner. Contact us to learn more about how OVATION can help with reducing the risks of mobile distractions for the enterprise.

  1. While 46% of registered drivers say that “demands from work” leads them to look at their phone and one in four U.S. traffic incidents are caused by the use of mobile phones1,2, being “on the go” isn’t just a distracted driving issue,
  2. New CareerBuilder Survey Reveals How Much Smartphones Are Sapping Productivity at Work, Career Builder,
  3. Forrester Study, 2019
  4. 2020 survey conducted by TRUCE Software across a representative sample of 1,500 U.S. users on websites in the Google Surveys Publisher Network who bring a mobile phone to work.