Why It’s Time for a Mobile-First Approach at Work

As customers, we have high expectations. Not only do we expect outstanding quality from the products and services we use, we also expect our interactions with companies – everything from customer services to the purchase process – to be slick and hassle-free.

Unsurprisingly, the smartphone has become the go-to device for all our consumer needs, bringing a new level of convenience and user-friendliness to the shopping experience. As a result, companies are taking a mobile-first approach to marketing, advertising, and sales.

In the world of work, however, things are somewhat different. Instead of riding the mobile wave, many companies expect their employees to use systems that they would never use in their free time or as customers.

Instead of intuitive apps and chatbots, many employees are forced to fire up their desktop or laptop computer and log in to outdated software systems, with the information they need hidden behind countless pages and clicks. This means that any personal admin or HR-related tasks can only be done during office hours or somewhere with a wi-fi connection, and never without a degree of hassle.

This raises an important question: why are businesses quick to provide a seamless mobile experience for their customers but not their employees?

Our mobile world

The smartphone is a genuine game-changer. It has only been on the scene for around a decade, but in that time it has transformed the way we interact with the world and connect with one another.

There are now a staggering 2.7 billion smartphone users worldwide. That’s over a third of the world’s population – not bad when you factor in the very young and very old, who are unlikely to have one.

In recent years, apps have overtaken websites as our favourite online medium, thanks to their next-level user experience and convenience. In fact, 90% of our mobile time is spent in apps, with only 10% spent browsing the internet. In 2018 alone, there were 194 billion app downloads!

Smartphones allow us to stay connected to our friends and the world 24/7, no matter where we are. Unsurprisingly, this has transformed the way we use social media, with the majority of US users now mobile-only.

The rise in popularity of chatbots is also transforming the mobile experience, allowing users to interact with companies, receive human-like support, and get instant access to information around the clock. Some people even predict that chatbot usage will overtake app usage in the coming years.

As these statistics show, we live in a truly mobile world. The smartphone is the only device on the market that provides the convenience, ease of use, and nonstop connectability that we now expect – as customers and employees.

The mobile-first workplace

Like customers, employees have high expectations. But unlike customers, these expectations often go unmet. Why? Perhaps because not so long ago, the balance between the employee and the employer was tilted firmly in favour of the latter. The onus was on the individual to meet the expectations of their employer, not the other way around, and so minimal thought went into the employee experience.

But in today’s world of talent shortages, social awareness, and abundant choice, employees now pick and choose the companies they want to be associated with – just like customers. As a result, the balance between employee and employer is becoming more balanced.

Every time a candidate looks at your website or applies for a job, they form an opinion about you. Your staff are constantly forming opinions of you based on their experience as employees. If they have to spend their days battling against outdated technologies, it’s likely that they’ll be frustrated.

Just like the customer experience, the employee experience should be intuitive, hassle-free, and mobile. After all, this is the technology that we choose to use in our private lives.

By taking a mobile-first approach to workplace tech, you allow your people to use technology that is familiar to them. They can access to the information they need 24/7, regardless of location, and feel connected to the organisation and its people no matter where they are based. And you save their precious time and energy, allowing them to get on with their jobs with minimal friction. 

Ultimately, this boosts engagement and improves attrition rates. Just like customers, if your employees are satisfied with their experience, they’re more likely to stick around.

The link between EX and CX

Employee experience and customer experience are not only equally important, they are also inextricably linked. By improving your employees’ experience of work, they will be happier, more engaged, and more loyal to your company and brand.

An outstanding employee experience leads to a workplace culture where staff are fully bought into improving the products or services you sell. They become brand ambassadors as well as employees. As a result, the work they do is of higher value, which ultimately benefits the customer.

If you want a truly successful business, you need to treat your employees as you do your customers. That means giving them instant access to the information they need through devices they are comfortable using. Just as your employees can shop or chat using their smartphones on the go, they should also be able to book holiday, schedule a check-in, or access HR or business-related information.

It boils down to this: would you be happy for your customers to interact with your business through outdated, unfamiliar, and downright inconvenient technology? If the answer is no, then don’t ask your employees to do the same.

Learn about the benefits of taking a mobile-first approach to work in your workplace and download the People First guide.


Nick Edwards - http://www.praguecopywriter.com

Nicholas Edwards is a freelance writer and editor based in Prague, the Czech Republic. When he's not helping local businesses master the English language, he loves writing about the future of work for People First. 

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