No Rest for the Weary
By Eric Lin, Wed Jun 30 23:00:00 GMT 2004

Two more surveys confirm our earlier conclusions that the mobilized workforce is now a reality. These new studies show that users will work while on vacation or out of the office, but they're not exactly pleased about it.


Instead of being sponsored by a wireless carrier or cellular industry player, these studies are sponsored by home gateway manufacturers 2Wire and Avaya; as such, they concentrate on broadband and Wi-Fi instead of cellular access. 2Wire's survey discovered that 25% of the broadband users surveyed will not stay at vacation destinations without a high speed connection. Whether it's from their hotel or a nearby internet cafe, 56% say they will check their email while on vacation.

Avaya came up with a higher figure, probably because they targeted IT workers instead of just home broadband users. 76% of those surveyed by Avaya will regularly check their email on vacation. As an indicator of how far mobile technology still needs to develop, especially in the US, 85% of people surveyed will pack their laptops on vacation instead of relying on mobile phones or PDAs for work tasks.

All this access to the office is not freeing workers as they were once promised. 54% of those Avaya surveyed are sometimes overwhelmed by pervasive communications. They need an escape and obviously aren't getting it if nearly all of those surveyed are packing laptops on their vacations. Even when they're not on vacation, those surveyed are working more. 25% have added 2-5 more hours per week while 17% have added more than 5 hours per week to their schedule thanks to mobile technologies. Even though less than half of the workers have seen a significant increase in their work hours, 93% say that pervasive access to the office has negatively impacted their quality of life.

It seems companies expect mobile technology to increase productivity outside the office in addition to what goes on inside, not instead of it -- or at least that's how workers feel.