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Thursday, 05 June 2014 12:33

'GenMobile' forcing a workplace rethink


A new type of young workers called 'GenMobile' are forcing employers to rethink traditional work patterns and make the workplace more flexible and mobile according to fresh research.

More than 5,000 people were surveyed by enterprise mobility firm Aruba Networks, with mobility emerging as a strong factor in the working patterns of GenMobile. The research showed that these workers rely on mobile devices for every aspect of work and personal communication, and stay connected to everything all the time, irrespective of place.

84% of respondents said that given a choice, they would not use a desktop and prefer to work on mobile devices while 51% are using mobile devices to manage work and non-work activities. 58% would prefer to use a Wi-Fi connection as compared to a traditional 4G, 3G, or wired connection.

Tech at work has become a driving factor, with 38% opting to bring their own device to work than have an office with a window, and 53% say that they would want their company to pay for their choice of device rather than lunch.

Average browsing time on mobiles has increased with 25% opting to give up coffee before giving up their smartphone.

Money is no longer a pressing factor for this generation, the survey found, as 32% would rather have their employer pay for the smartphone of their choice than a 5% higher salary.

The research also points to the emergence of a new workday, with over four in ten (45%) saying their most efficient time of work is before 9am or after 6pm. 37% expect their number of remote workings hours to increase in the next 12 months, posing a new challenge for businesses.

"It's not just happening with Gen Y; it's with everybody," said Aruba Networks ANZ MD, Steve Coad.

"You sometimes just look around at how many people are looking down at their mobile devices as opposed to reading a magazine, and it's quite extraordinary that everyone wants to be connected all the time."

Businesses need to be more proactive in embracing this new breed of workers, Coad said.

"I think they need to embrace with it. As their staff become more mobile and begins working from home or from cafes, people are looking at their employees to use timeshare rather than mindshare ... which means a more productive workforce, and they have enable it with devices, apps, and better connectivity."

The research was conducted in US, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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