by Tom Kaneshige

6 mobile work habits from around the world

Apr 27, 20153 mins
MobileSmall and Medium BusinessSmartphones

Mobile technology has changed the world, but it’s also put workers across the global on call 24/7. Here’s how – and where -- citizens of six countries squeeze in more work thanks to mobile devices. Spoiler alert: Stand, or sit, proud, America.

Mobile has us working all the time in all kinds of places

Thanks to Apple, Samsung, BlackBerry and other mobile movers and shakers, the entire world seems to be on call every waking moment. We’re constantly working on our mobile devices, whether in the car, in front of the television, or on the toilet. We’re working on vacation and feeling guilty about it. Mobile work has become embedded in every country’s culture.

Spain: Mobility on the move

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Public transportation is big in Spain, or so we’ve heard. Buses, trains, an extensive metro network and cheap fares all contribute to a lively public transport scene. What are they doing while riding the metro? Hint: They’re not taking a siesta, but rather working muy duro on their mobile devices. According to a MobileIron-Harris Poll survey, the Spanish are most likely to do mobile work while using public transportation.

France: Texting and driving

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Texting and driving is illegal in France, but this apparently doesn’t stop the French from working on their mobile devices while behind the wheel. The MobileIron-Harris Poll survey found that the French are some of the worst offenders. “That got me a little concerned about driving around in Paris,” says Ojas Rege, vice president of strategy at MobileIron.

Germany: Mobile guilt trip

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Germany has some of the stiffest work laws, such as prohibiting employees from working on personal time. Like the French, though, Germans tend to “shadow task” despite the laws — that is, doing work tasks during personal hours or personal tasks during work hours. The difference is that Germans tend to feel especially guilty receiving personal communications at work, the MobileIron-Harris Poll survey found.

United Kingdom: Home sweet home

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The British take the blended work-life experience to an entirely new level. They like to monitor their homes over mobile devices while they’re working, the MobileIron-Harris Poll survey found. Why they’re monitoring their homes isn’t exactly clear. Maybe they’re worried about break-ins. Maybe they want to make sure the nanny is doing a good job. Maybe there are a bunch of cool cameras and monitoring apps. Maybe they should just get back to work.

USA: The Arrogant American

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The stereotype of the rude, boorish American can’t escape the MobileIron-Harris Poll survey, which found that Americans are most likely to do mobile work while using the bathroom. Sadly, this isn’t surprising. U.S. smartphone insurers have said for years that phones falling into toilets are a leading cause for claims. Let’s improve our global image and agree not to use our phones while sitting on the can, OK?

Japan: What Mobile Work?

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Japan has often been called the mobile phone capital of the world. Make your way through the crowded streets of Tokyo, and you can see why. But that’s true only for consumers. Japanese companies haven’t quite jumped on the mobile worker bandwagon yet. As a result, Japanese do less work on mobile devices than people in other countries. How can you tell? “People from other countries tend to do a lot of mobile work while watching television,” says Rege says. “In Japan, there was a substantial drop.”