A survey of 500 British employees commissioned by Panasonic found that users are so frustrated by their company-provided mobile device that 14% have deliberately broken or disposed of them, with sales and marketing and IT managers being the worst offenders.
The research found that many staff are frustrated by the mobile devices or even embarrassed to be seen with them. 38% said they have "negative feelings" for their work-owned technology, with 30% stating they would rather use their own device. 9% admit they are embarrassed to use the work-owned device they have been given, 7% say the devices are difficult to use and 6% simply say they hate them.
When it comes to form factor, 36% of the sample were critical of the look and feel of the work-owned mobile devices they currently use, especially those aged 18-44, junior and middle managers, those in sales and marketing and IT and data management. 18% described them as being old and out of date, while 17% described them as looking dull and boring. Moreover, 11% said their work-owned mobile device was ugly and lacked style. Not surprisingly, there is a correlation between those who have either deliberately or accidentally damaged their devices, and those with a negative attitude.
"We are very surprised at the number of employees who admitted to being tempted to sabotage their work laptops and mobiles, but even more staggered by the number of people who had actually done it," said Jan Kaempfer, marketing director of Panasonic Computer Product Solutions. "It demonstrates the depth of feeling from people when they are given generic devices for work that are simply not fit for purpose."
There was also a high level of accidental damage, with 42% of employees who use a work-owned device having had accidents with them. Nearly a quarter (23%) have dropped them, 13% have spilled water on the device, while 5% have seen their devices submerged in water completely (many had dropped them down the toilet, for instance). 12% have suffered a broken screen — increasingly common as smartphones have grown larger and more fragile.
Absentmindedness was a problem for 12% of the sample, who said they simply lost their work-owned mobile device.
97% of the sample questioned had both a work-owned and a personal device. Only 8% of respondents said they look after their company property more carefully than their own device.
But Panasonic insisted that Bring Your Own Device – the ability for staff to choose their own mobile device – is not the answer. The firm argued that BYOD can be a false economy when you factor in security and management challenges. The firm’s advice is to simply buy staff more ruggedised devices, just like a Panasonic Toughbook in fact. But whether staff would be any less embarrassed handling even less slim-and-sexy mobile devices is surely open to debate.