Mobile devices are crucial to an employee’s success in the modern workforce. While the majority (80%) of IT business leaders believe employees need mobile devices to do their jobs, mobile devices are failing them. More than 50% of end users reported experiencing mobile failures monthly, which impacted their ability to conduct work, a B2M report found.

SEE: 10 essential tools for remote workers (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

B2M’s 2nd annual State of Enterprise Mobility report surveyed more than 550 companies to determine how important mobile devices are to enterprise workers. Despite mobile devices and apps being business-critical assets, nearly 40% of end users said that their mobility issues have increased over the past 12 to 18 months.

The biggest obstacles

The report identified the following three key issues affecting the impact of smartphones in the enterprise:

1. Unreliable network connections (cellular and Wi-Fi): Some 45% of all end users said they experience network-related issues one or more times each month.

2. Battery life: More than 40% of end users said they had battery-related issues. The average occurrence of these issues was one to two times per week (12%).

3. Mobile application instability: Mobile applications keep crashing, with 40% of end users reporting app-related issues one or more times a month.

The effects

These issues cause significant problems for companies: More than 50% of all end users said their company has lost both revenue and customers because of mobile problems. Some 41% of IT workers admitted to automatically replacing the battery when a mobile device has a problem, but that isn’t always the issue, wasting time and money.

End users have also seen an uptick in concerns around high operating costs in attempts to fix mobile issues. End users are so desperate to fix issues that more than half (54%) admitted that between 1 and 20% of returned devices ended up being healthy, meaning the replacement devices are bought for no reason. The perceived issues were a short battery life or slow functionality, but batteries and devices were often found to be functioning normally.

Not only do these problems cost companies money, but they also cost employee productivity. Some 63% of all end users said it takes between 30 and 180 minutes for a mobile problem to be resolved. During the time the devices are being fixed, the employee is left being unproductive, the report found.

Productivity issues stemming from mobile devices are well known throughout organizations. Almost all (95%) mobile device users said their companies were negatively impacted by lost productivity due to the devices.

Mental health issues

These mobile problems cause end users physical and mental stress, the report found. Some 66% of all end users surveyed said they felt anxious or stressed when their work mobile device has issues, up from 39% of end users in 2018. This stress is making users take sick time, with 37% of employees reportedly taking at least one day off due to mobility issues.

Some 74% of end users experiencing the anxiety reported their feelings to management, but 30% said they felt like nothing would be done. This discouragement causes nearly 30% of end users to leave theircompany to find another place where mobility conditions are better.

What workers want

To mitigate the negative impacts of mobile devices, IT workers said they wanted device configuration staging, mobile security, MDM/EM, and TEMs. Additionally, 52% said they wanted real-time visibility and analytics on device health and usage diagnostic tools to quickly locate the problem.

IT mobility management is undoubtedly important in today’s workforce, with 91% of IT workers rating enterprise mobile management tools as Valuable or Extremely valuable.

“Businesses need to go beyond mobile device management and implement solutions that provide them with actionable insights and real-time visibility, across the board, into the mobility issues impacting their workforces,” said Gary Lee, CRO of B2M solutions. “Proactively spotting and fixing problems, and in some cases even predicting them, is the key to better management of business-critical mobile devices and applications, and the user experience for all mobile users.”

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Image: Olga Romanova, Getty Images/iStockphoto