Employees Are Distracted at the Wheel, and That’s a Risk Business Executives Need to Take Responsibility For

Seventy-two percent of people who drive as part or all of their job feel pressured to respond to work communications while driving, according to research released from TRUCE Software, the leading provider of Contextual Mobility Management solutions for businesses.

In conjunction with Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is recognized annually in April, TRUCE polled over 1,500 adults about their work-related mobile device usage habits. The survey also looked at whether or not their employers have policies in place to define and enforce safe and appropriate use.

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Lack of usage policies gives way to safety risks

Forty percent of respondents said their company does not have a policy in place to define safe and appropriate mobile device use on the job. Not surprisingly, the more likely driving is a key part of a person’s job, the more likely respondents were to say their employer has a mobile usage policy in place.

Further, 55% of those who said there is a policy in place also noted their employer has no technology to enforce it.

“What we’re seeing here is that businesses are depending on employees to police themselves on safe mobile device usage,” said Joe Boyle, TRUCE CEO. “With the rise in mobility and the inherent safety issues that can come with it, business leaders need to recognize the role they play not only in being accountable for employee safety, but also for the role they may be playing in creating risk. Organizations pushing for increased connectivity can balance the potential challenges by embracing solutions that help them think situationally about how mobile technology is used in the workplace. Dynamic mobile policy enforcement both protects employees and enhances productivity.”

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A generational difference in distractions at the wheel

The survey found that younger respondents (under 45) are more likely to feel pressure to respond to work correspondence while driving than those 45 and older (43% versus 29%, respectively).

This is in line with findings from TRUCE’s Connected Workforce study published in February, which found employees in the 45+ segment view work/life balance as something they themselves are responsible for managing. Conversely, their younger counterparts believe employers have a bigger role to play in establishing and enforcing those boundaries. This could be attributed to the 45+ group being more used to, and comfortable with, knowing when to “turn it off” and holding firm to that line. Younger people who only know the always-on nature of work aren’t as good at creating that divide, and that bleeds into their time spent behind the wheel, as the survey found.

Usage of mobile devices to complete work tasks is climbing

Sixty-five percent of respondents said at least some, if not most, of their work tasks beyond calls, texting or email can be completed using apps on a mobile device. Over a third said they complete more work tasks on their mobile device today than they did two years ago, signaling a significant rise in mobility usage across the workforce.

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