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Technology has changed the way we think about work and the many ways we communicate for our jobs.

This week, Mashable posted an interesting infographic from social contact manager Gist that analyzes how the mobile workforce is growing and how remote workers use different devices to stay in touch and maintain personal effectiveness on the go.

From Mashable:

The era of the 9-to-5 job is over. Even just a few years ago, you were expected to commute to work, put in your hours and drive back home. Once you left work, it was done until you came back into the office the next way.

Thanks to laptops, smartphones, tablets and Wi-Fi, that has all changed. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can file reports, hold meetings, edit proposals and complete practically all of your work tasks remotely. As a result, telecommuting is on the rise, and more and more work is completed via our mobile devices.

The Gist infographic’s overall theme is, “Increasingly, work is something people do rather than a place people go,” and it contains some data that may surprise you. For example, 3 out of 5 workers say they don’t need to be in the office to be productive, implying that personal effectiveness can be achieved independently from a traditional work environment.

The Growing Telecommuting Population

More interesting highlights from the Gist analysis:

  • 32 percent of global employees rely on more than one mobile device during an average workday

Mobile workers feel most productive in the following places:

  • 46 percent – in the office
  • 38 percent – telecommuting from home
  • 9 percent – no preference
  • 2 percent – on an airplane
  • 2 percent – in a hotel
  • 2 percent – in a cafe
  • 1 percent – public transportation

Mobile email is growing, while web-based email is declining:

  • -6 percent – users accessing web-based email
  • +36 percent – accessing mobile email

Tablets (such as the iPad) are increasing in popularity:

  • 65 million tablets expected to sell in 2011
  • 65 percent of mobile workers use a tablet
  • 27 percent of mobile workers use a tablet for work

Mobile workers use tablets for various purposes:

  • 36 percent – send and receive email
  • 35 percent – surf the Internet
  • 12 percent – read (e-books, newspapers or magazines)
  • 7 percent – watch video content

Mobile workers use their smartphones for:

  • Social media for work
  • Information management
  • Web conferencing
  • Note-taking
  • Office suites

It is now commonplace for employees to read and send emails from their smartphones when they are out of the office, and many workers also have the option of telecommuting part-time. Proponents say these technological advancements increase personal effectiveness and free employees to have more flexibility. Critics question if mobile devices and working outside the office really improve productivity or, on the contrary, provide more distractions.

What do you think? Do you use smartphones or other mobile devices for work? Do you work remotely occasionally or regularly? Share your comments below.

Get telecommuting tips for effective communication.

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