In today's society, working in a mobile environment has become almost as common as working in a traditional office environment. In 2010, 26.2 million people worked from home or remotely for an entire day at least once a month—a figure a representing nearly 20 percent of the U.S. working adult population of 139 million. Over the past several years, mobile work environments and interaction with mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, notebooks and smartphones have increased substantially. In 2010, experts estimated that 17.6 million tablets were sold—a number that was expected to increase more than three-fold in 2011. Market projections predict that there could be more than 300 million tablets sold worldwide in 2015, with more than 80 million tablet users in the United States alone.
Not only do workers interact with increasing numbers of mobile devices, but they now use their car, van or home as a work area in which to routinely carry out tasks that would previously have been done at a desk in the office. Evidence shows that this trend is probably here to stay. According to a recent survey from Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., employees who telecommute say they feel and work better from home. In fact, 86 percent of telecommuters say they are more productive in their home office.
While working on mobile devices allows workers to be more productive, there are downsides to consider. Mobile and telecommuting computing environments have introduced new areas of ergonomic concern that may threaten workers' well-being and lead to increased health costs in the workplace. For example, there are a variety of injuries they may experience as a result of working with the technology in a mobile or home office environment.