At this point, most of us are mobile. Seventy-four percent of us work out of the office at least occasionally, according to one source, but that doesn’t mean we’re all productive. Some mobile employees are very productive. Others are just absent. Here are four characteristics that productive mobile employees have in common.

1. They update their status—almost obsessively

While France is talking about banning work emails after hours, the fact is that we’re always connected. In one survey, 64% of employees say they check email at least once a day outside of regular work hours while 12% of those said they check work email in real time beyond the standard workday. This ability to be constantly connected brings with it responsibility. Coworkers and bosses can’t see what mobile workers are doing, so it’s crucial they remain open about their status and availability. As Jeff Haden at says, “Great remote employees let others know when they won’t be available, and why… and how they can still be contacted in the event of an emergency.”

2. They use lots of different apps

Mobile employees go out and get what they need. This has created “shadow IT,” or IT projects that the IT department doesn’t know about. Shadow IT can be a big pain for IT departments. It can also make mobile employees very productive. This is why 66 percent of enterprises are discussing a corporate app store. They want to support mobile productivity in a way their IT departments can handle. Whether your organization is ready to support an app store or not, don’t expect application proliferation to slow down. The online app market is likely to be worth US$25 billion by 2015.

3. They focus on results

Mobile employees don’t get the chance to build the same kind of personal relationships other employees do. That’s one reason some organizations force employees to come in to the office. The positive side to this is that mobile employees learn to provide value very efficiently and regularly. They have to become more result-oriented. Often, they have metrics that can demonstrate the worth of their performance.

4. They’re younger… right?

It’s commonly accepted knowledge that younger workers are more likely to demand and be comfortable with mobile work. As young workers who have grown up with smart phones enter the workforce, a mobility watershed is approaching. This generation mobile will change the way we work, some say.

But the truth isn’t quite that simple. Senior management makes up a big portion of the mobile workforce.


Of course senior and middle management can be young, but they’re less likely to be. So why are these older workers making up the mobile workforce? Senior employees have more flexibility. They also have plenty of cash to spend on the newest device, which in a BYOD world, makes them more likely to be mobile.

This news about all ages embracing mobility shouldn’t be surprising. After all, we started the blog talking about how we’re all mobile these days. And that means organizations need to realize that mobility is no longer an option. It’s the way the modern world works. Seek out productive mobile employees, and it can be the way your organization works too.