September 16, 2014

How Gen Mobile Is Transforming the Workplace

gen mobile

Are you ready for Gen Mobile? According to Aruba Networks, which recently conducted a global study (PDF) on the issue, mobile devices are creating a new generation of employees for whom “smartphones have gone beyond personal entertainment and BYOD…they’re now shaping their working lives around mobile devices.”

If you think Gen Mobile is the same as the Millennial generation, think again. The study found that although most of them do fall within the ages of 18 to 35, Gen Mobile includes employees of all ages.

Rather than age, Gen Mobile is defined by their reliance on mobile devices and Internet connectivity to work the way they want to work. A whopping:

  • 86% of survey respondents have two or more connected mobile devices.
  • 64% own three or more connected mobile devices.
  • 39% own four or more.

Because they like to connect on the go, Gen Mobile overwhelmingly prefers their employers to offer Wi-Fi Internet connections.

So How Does Gen Mobile Want to Work?

Flexibility Can Increase Productivity

Far from being a sign of laziness, the desire for flexibility is often just a wish to work more efficiently. Forty-five percent of overall respondents say they work most efficiently before 9am or after 6pm. In the U.S., this figure was 55 percent.

Flexibility Can Help Your Business Attract and Retain Employees

A whopping 70 percent of survey respondents prefer flexible hours to working 9 to 5—and even to working 9 to 5 and getting out early on Fridays.

Flexibility Can Save Your Business Money

Over half of those surveyed say they’d rather be able to work from home or remotely two to three days a week than receive a 10 percent higher salary. This was true even among younger Gen Mobile, who are at entry-level with lower salaries and might be expected to care more about money.

Flexibility Isn’t Going Away

Globally, 37 percent of respondents expect to do more remote work in 2014. For the younger members of Gen Mobile, 49 percent expect to do so.

Flexibility Benefits Work-Life Balance

Younger members of Gen Mobile are more likely than other groups to use mobile apps such as Facebook (17%) and Twitter (14%) at work, but are also 20% more likely to access and respond to work emails on their mobile devices. Nearly two-thirds (63%) say their mobile devices help them manage their lives better—and better work-life balance means happier employees.

Flexibility Doesn’t Mean Working 24/7

Mobility can lead to burnout if employees feel they must be “on call” day and night. About two-thirds (64%) of Gen Mobile say they need disconnected time – time when they can disengage from their mobile devices.

What does it all mean to your business?

If you want to attract and retain the next generation of employees – Gen Mobile – you’ve got to rethink typical working hours and environments in favor of the way mobile employees want to work.

Mobile Photo via Shutterstock

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Rieva Lesonsky


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a staff writer for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow her on Google+ and visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

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