The new generation of employees entering the workforce are highly mobile, are demanding non-traditional, flexible work hours and say they are more productive working from home, according to a recent report compiled by Aruba Networks.
Referring to the group as #GenMobile, Aruba officials said these employees are molding their work lives around their mobile devices, and would choose to have their work environments shaped to their preferences rather than have a pay raise.
"We’ve seen flexible working, BYOD [bring-your-own-device] and always-on connectivity growing for some time, but this report shows that it’s now become a way of life for those in the modern workforce," Ben Gibson, chief marketing officer for Aruba, said in a statement. "What this report suggests is that #GenMobile won’t have patience with companies who do not accommodate their mobile lives. In order to attract and keep the best employees, businesses need to start looking for solutions to ensure levels of empowerment and productivity in this emerging working world. Ultimately, many will have to totally redefine traditional work environments."
Analysts and other industry observers have for several years talked about the increasingly tech-savvy and increasingly mobile employees coming into the workforce, and the challenges they create for companies and their IT departments. The Aruba report, in which more than 5,000 people worldwide were surveyed, adds further color to the picture of workers who are more apt to shape their working lives to their desires.
Sixty-two percent of the #GenMobile workers own three or more connected devices, and almost 58 percent of them prefer WiFi connections to other options, such as 4G, 3G or wired. In addition, they're becoming even more wired: 37 percent said they expect the number of hours that they work remotely will increase over the next 12 months.
Mobility is a significant part of these workers' lives, both professionally and personally, Aruba officials said. For example, they're more likely than their older counterparts to access mobile apps such as Facebook and Twitter, but also are 20 percent more likely to access and respond to work emails on their mobile devices.
These new employees also are willing to give up more money and other perks if it means working the way they want. Forty-five percent of them said they work most efficiently before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m., and 53 percent would rather work at home two to three days a week than take a 10 percent pay raise. About 32 percent would rather have their employer pay for the smartphone that they choose rather than get another 5 percent in pay.
Thirty-eight percent said they'd turn down an office with a window if it meant being able to bring their own device to work, and 53 percent said they'd rather have the company pay for the device they choose rather than give them lunch.
Aruba's Gibson said company officials should look at what these #GenMobile workers want and make changes to accommodate those demands. The result will be a more productive and motivated workforce and a more competitive company.
"Making the necessary workplace changes needs to be supplemented with solid technology choices; employers will only succeed in motivating #GenMobile workers if they have the security and connections available to facilitate this shift," he said.