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Telenor Asia: Digital Lives Decoded (Work)

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Decoding changing attitudes towards mobile connectivity in South and Southeast Asia.

In this period of economic and geopolitical uncertainty, what role can mobile technologies play to help companies attract and retain talent, be productive and build resilience for the next wave of transformation and adaptation? The ability of mobile technology – underpinned by resilient broadband network and connectivity infrastructure – to mitigate disruption in terms of where work happens and enabling employees to continue to be productive, have been much discussed. But what has been less talked about, and is a simmering issue of growing importance to all stakeholders, is the aspect of trust.

Indeed, part two of our study of over 8,000 people in eight markets in South and Southeast Asia, shows that there is a high level of appreciation of the positive impact that mobile technology and connectivity have had in supercharging work performance and careers at an individual level, and its crucial role in driving the success of businesses, particularly with COVID-related restrictions in the past three years. The role of the mobile is especially crucial in many developing markets where fixed broadband remains unaffordable for many.

Mobile technologies have also created new options for working and generating income. There are many stories of people building viable businesses through their mobile phones, from Thai housewives conducting successful home-based businesses through online marketing to mango sellers in Bangladesh turning to e-commerce to find new distribution channels during crises.

However, privacy and security concerns, and a distrust of the technology, are standing in the way of employees and their organisations in extracting the fullest potential from mobile technology at work. This coupled with an uptick in employee surveillance could push the issue of trust to the forefront for organisations – creating further challenges in talent management and retention.

Already, respondents are calling for a reimagination of the workplace and how internal communications, learning and development, and HR systems and processes can be redesigned and enhanced with the use of mobile technology to overcome trust-related barriers, to not only boost performance and productivity, but also improve relationships and satisfaction at work.

At the same time, with more mission-critical work migrating to digital and mobile platforms and the risk of cyberattack rising in tandem, the issue of trust also needs to be addressed from a network stability and security perspective. Remote and hybrid work is reliant on secure and resilient broadband networks that enable employees to connect not just with one another and their customers, but also with the tech systems that power enterprises today. A cyberattack could have a crippling effect on any organisation, but just as importantly, delivering high-quality and stable mobile connectivity for all employees, anytime, anywhere is also an imperative in ensuring uninterrupted operations.

We are at a pivotal moment as organisations emerge from the pandemic and aim to build greater resilience, while ensuring that employees can thrive in the new world of work. As this second part of our study has shown, mobile technology holds immense potential in helping businesses realise this by empowering employees and unlocking new revenue streams. We hope that the insights on some of the gaps and opportunities around mobile connectivity can serve to guide leaders and stakeholders in charting the way forward in the digital-first economy

Jørgen C. Arentz Rostrup
Head of Telenor Asia

Trust issues rising

Issues of privacy and security are already at the forefront of employee minds. Growing use of surveillance software in the workplace could damage staff confidence further.

Is going mobile what your career needs?

Mobile connectivity is supercharging people’s work lives. Productivity has been boosted and capabilities enhanced. As technology evolves rapidly, workers fear being left behind.

Making money with your mobile

Mobile devices are creating economic opportunities. Women across the region are benefiting. New income streams and growing their skills sets are just some ways workers are reaping the advantages.