By 2024, mobile workers (employees who use mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for work) will account for over 60% of the total U.S. workforce, according to research from IDC. A large percentage of the mobile workforce will continue to work from home even as the mandatory COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and closures are lifted.
With the increase of workers at home, and a large number of companies announcing hybrid work plans, employees are increasingly juggling work and personal life on a single device. Many are struggling to find the right balance between creating separation of work-life balance and maintaining privacy.
As researchers on the Android Enterprise team, we are always curious about the various needs and expectations of mobile employees who use their smartphones for both work and personal purposes. So we began a research project to understand the elements that comprise the ideal smartphone experience.
Our qualitative research shed light on the importance of work-life balance, privacy and wellbeing. We partnered with experience management firm Qualtrics to assess and quantify the qualitative findings through a study with more than 3,000 smartphone users around the world. For more details, read the Qualtrics blog.
Managing work and personal life on a single smartphone
The study revealed that 68% of employees use one smartphone for both work and personal purposes, while 32% use two smartphones, though not always simply one for work and one for personal use. Looking across the two groups, 85% of employees use at least one smartphone for both work and personal use.
To get a bird's-eye view on the needs of people who use a single smartphone for both work and personal use, the team surveyed both users of the Android work profile — a dedicated space on Android devices where work apps are kept separate from personal apps and data — and non-work profile users, including those on other mobile operating systems.
Separation is key to satisfaction
Across the various user groups surveyed, 70% said they’d prefer a user interface (UI) on their phones that clearly separates work and personal apps and data, over a UI with no separation. Users mentioned that a clear delineation between work and personal apps and data can help them improve digital wellbeing and balance between their personal lives and their work.
In line with our findings, the data shows that work profile users (81%) are more satisfied than non-work profile users (71%) with their experience of managing work and personal life on the same device. Work profile user satisfaction is driven by the peace of mind that their work data will be separate and secure, thus reducing the chances of making unwanted mistakes like sending a corporate or personal email from the wrong account.
When there is a distinct separation between work and personal apps, people are more conscious about their data and the boundaries they can and cannot cross. Work profile users are more aware than non-work profile users that the data linked to their work account can be seen by their company and more satisfied that their work data can be kept secure. For example, 63% of work profile users are aware that work app usage (data captured on work apps) is visible to IT, compared to only 39% of non-work profile users who also use work apps on their phone.
Work-life balance under control
Given the increasingly blurred boundaries between work and personal time, people find it difficult to fully disconnect from work after hours. As a result, survey respondents listed lack of work-life balance as the top frustration when using a single phone for work and personal use.
One of the advantages of work profile is that users can switch their work apps and notifications off when they are not working, helping them take back control of their work-life balance. Our study shows that work profile users are significantly more satisfied with their work-life balance compared to non-work profile users (70% vs. 63%).
For more information about how you and your employees can take advantage of the work profile, visit our website.