Half of US information workers now split their time between the office, home, and other remote locations, according to Forrester’s Q2 2011 US Workforce Technology And Engagement Online Survey of 4,985 US information workers. The study, which sheds new light on today’s increasingly mobile and distributed workforce, was published today in conjunction with the first day of Forrester’s Content & Collaboration Forum.

The report also reveals that workers are untethered from the office as they rise in rank. Fifty-three percent of individual workers are office-bound, but that number drops to 35 percent among managers and supervisors, and plummets to just 10 percent among directors and executives.

“Looking out five years, Forrester sees three technology ‘trains’ impacting the future of workforce productivity, innovation, and advocacy. All three of these trains have left the station: enterprise mobility, enterprise social, and cloud services for business,” Matt Brown, vice president and practice leader at Forrester Research, said during his opening remarks at the Forum.  

The Workforce Technology And Engagement Survey, which enables Forrester clients to make fact-based decisions about which technology to invest in and why, also revealed the following:

  • BlackBerry still has the largest installed base of smartphones for work — but Android and Apple devices combined lead the workplace. While 42 percent of workers use RIM BlackBerry, IT departments are supporting more devices, and Apple and Android are starting to cut into RIM’s enterprise dominance: 26 percent of workers now use Android smartphones, and 22 percent use iPhones. “We expect a tsunami of mobile user demand for access to portals, productivity tools, and back-end transactional and reporting systems as these devices make it into the hands of the broader workforce,” Brown said.
  • Gen Y (age 18-31) is almost twice as likely as boomers (age 56-66) to use social tools — but adoption of enterprise 2.0 technologies is still nascent. Only one in six Gen Y professionals uses social tools. Despite significant and ongoing investment in enterprise social technologies, their roughly seven-year lifespan within enterprises has yielded a maximum of 12 percent adoption within the overall workforce. This market has failed to displace traditional collaboration technologies like email as a preferred way to communicate at work.
  • The use of tablets in the enterprise is exploding. Eleven percent of information workers are using tablets to do their jobs. “Despite a tablet market that’s barely a year old, this is astounding growth,” Brown said.

The State Of Workforce Technology Adoption: US Benchmark 2011” is available to Forrester clients, who will be able to access the report as part of their subscription service.

Forrester Groundswell Awards, Management Division

At the Forum, Forrester honored three Forrester Groundswell Award winners in the Management division for excellence in effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational or business goal. In their fifth year, the Forrester Groundswell Awards support and recognize the principles outlined in the Forrester books Groundswell: Winning In A World Transformed By Social Technologies (Harvard Business Press, May 2008) and Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, Transform Your Business (Harvard Business Press, September 2010).

“In our second year of the Forrester Groundswell Awards Management division, now featuring mobile, collaboration, and innovation programs for employees around the world, the number of quality entries was remarkable,” said Ted Schadler, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester and co-author of Empowered. “The entries reflected the deep commitments that companies and governments are making in programs that empower employees to solve customer and business problems.”

Here are the winners of the 2011 Forrester Groundswell Awards in the Management division:

  • Enabling Medtronic’s Global Sales Force With Mobile Content Management by Fishbowl Solutions
  • Innovation System: Innovation @ HCL: The Value Portal by HCL Technologies
  • Collaboration System: Deloitte Australia Yammer Network by Yammer

Winners in the Consumer North America and Business-To-Business divisions will be announced next month at Forrester’s Consumer Forum 2011 in Chicago. Winners in the Consumer International division will be announced in November at Forrester’s Marketing & Strategy Forum EMEA 2011 in London.

A detailed overview of each winning entry, along with the finalists in each category, is available on the Groundswell website.

Forrester’s Content & Collaboration Forum was co-located with three other Forrester Forums: Application Development & Delivery Forum, Business Process Forum, and CIO-CMO Forum. The events, focused on delivering a better customer experience in the age of customer, attracted more than 800 IT and business executives.