The new Mobile Workforce Report for Q2 2012 from iPass about the work habits of employees who either work remotely or travel regularly for company business found that survey respondents are working longer hours and finding a reliable connection is a major issue for them.

The report found that 60% of mobile employees work 50 to 60 hour-plus work weeks. This includes weekend days as the most popular times to work remotely. 

In terms of the lengths employees will go to in order to find a reliable wireless Internet connection, the report found that 29% of respondent have hijacked an unsecure Wi-Fi network, and 30% have driven around in a car trying to find free Wi-Fi.

“Connectivity is like oxygen for today’s mobile workers. The improved ability to work anywhere as long as they are connected appears to be driving higher productivity. This reinforces the need for IT departments to provide services that ensure high quality, safe and affordable global connectivity for their employees,” said iPass CEO Evan Kaplan. “While having control over when, where and how one works is a significant benefit in terms of well-being, mobile workers themselves need to take care to manage the unique stressors that an always connected work-life brings.”

In terms of devices, the report found that tablets are the most popular for video streaming (47%), social media access (33%) and reading (64%), but the laptop is still the most popular device for tasks such as video conferencing (69%), editing documents (88%) and browsing the Internet.

For fleet managers, the battle between the needs of "always connected" employees and fleet safety policies will continue to play out. Fleet safety policies will likely have to go to greater lengths to specify what an acceptable use of Internet connections actually is for business purposes while in a vehicle.

In addition, even with strict distracted driving policies in place, employees (field service professionals, salespeople, etc.) working in "mobile offices" will likely need some form of Wi-Fi connection as a vehicle option on selectors so they can work while not driving.