Enterprises are seeing more employees work outside of the office in an effort to take advantage of flexible work schedules and better connect with customers in the field – but mobile worker productivity is damaged by an inability to efficiently access business files or software remotely.

A survey conducted by Harris Interactive, commissioned by Riverbed Technology, also found that employees would work off-site more frequently if their files and software would load more quickly.
The survey asked a series of questions of more than 900 US adults who are employed full-time, normally work on-site, and have ever accessed business files or software stored on their employer’s server/network/drives from off-site.
The survey found that:
* 47% are working off-site more often now than they were two years ago;
* More than half (54%) concentrate better when working off-site compared to being in the office; however, 40% say they would work off-site more often if their business files or software would load more quickly; and
* Two-thirds (67%) would like to be able to work off-site more frequently than they currently do.
According to the survey, working “off-site” today means that employees are working remotely from a number of possible locations:
* 80% have accessed business files or software from home;
* 37% have accessed business files or software from a hotel room;
* 27% have accessed business files or software from another company office location;
* 20% have accessed business files or software from a vacation destination;
* 19% have accessed business files or software from an airport;
* 17% have accessed business files or software from a business conference;
* 13% have accessed business files or software from a WiFi enabled public space, such as a park; and
* 11% have accessed business files or software from a coffee shop.
The survey also found that, among employees who have ever accessed business files or software from a remote location:
* 29% do so at least five times per week; and
* 33% report that accessing business files or software remotely negatively affects their productivity.
According to Riverbed, fast remote access to files is a growing challenge for companies. Companies are increasingly consolidating their data centres into a central location while employees are increasingly distributed and working from mobile computers. This puts a greater distance between employees and the files and software they need to do their jobs, which can harm productivity.
“Employees today are more connected than ever – no matter their location. They’re working from home, on the road and even on vacation,” says Eric Wolford, senior vice-president of marketing and business development at Riverbed. “Companies need to make it easier for employees to be productive when working off-site.”