Press Release

Unreliable mobile coverage in the workplace is increasing employee stress levels, hurting productivity and driving a wedge between employees and employers – especially among the younger generation of workers, a new Zinwave survey shows. Office workers between 18 and 34 years of age are 45 percent more likely to complain of “frequent” problems with mobile coverage in their workplace than workers 35 and older. Office workers of all ages express frustration at employers, building owners, and mobile operators for the coverage issues.

“These survey results send a clear signal that when it comes to mobile service in the office, the game has changed. Employers and commercial property owners can no longer throw up their hands and blame the wireless operator when in-office coverage is spotty or just downright bad,” said Scott Willis, CEO of Zinwave, a global provider of wideband distributed network solutions for delivery of mobile, public safety, IoT, and other wireless services. “Office workers today expect their employers and building owners to solve this problem, and the ones who do so will be rewarded with higher levels of employee engagement and retention, as well as better productivity and service to their customers.”

Overall, 69 percent of 994 UK office workers surveyed complained that they either “frequently” or “sometimes” had problems with poor mobile coverage in the workplace. The survey panel included office employees who work in a variety of commercial buildings, ranging from urban office buildings to retail shopping centres, industrial facilities and medical buildings. The panel was assembled by the global market research firm Toluna.

“Mobile networks were originally designed for outdoor use, and most commercial buildings have not been constructed with mobile coverage in mind,” said Willis. “Today, an estimated 80 percent of cell phone calls take place indoors. In the workplace, this creates an enormous disconnect between employee expectations and what most employers are able to deliver. Dropped calls and interrupted data connections are hurting productivity and morale. This is especially true among younger workers.”

Of those who complained about office mobile coverage, 26 percent said the problem increased their stress levels, 18 percent said it decreased their productivity, and 15 percent said it made their company “look bad” to those on the other end of the phone. More than 27 percent said that they were sometimes forced to make calls outside because of poor in-building coverage.

The gap in perception between millennials and other age groups is striking. More than 77 percent of those 18 to 34 complained of bad mobile experiences in the office, with more than 30 percent describing these experiences as “frequent.” This compares to complaints by 64 percent of all other age groups; only 19 percent of non-millennials deemed their bad experiences “frequent.”

Also notable is who office workers blame for their mobile troubles. While 45 percent point a finger at their mobile operator, an equal percentage expresses frustration with their employer and/or the owner of the building where they work.

Among specific facilities, the survey showed that UK workers in healthcare facilities such as hospitals and medical offices had the most complaints, with 82 percent of workers having bad experiences and more than 35 percent describing these experiences as “frequent.” This was followed by employees in retail facilities, such as shopping centres; 76 percent complained of bad experiences and 30 percent described these experiences as “frequent.”

Zinwave’s complete survey, “Mobile in the Workplace 2017,” is available for download at: