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Are You Ready for #GenMobile?

How a new group is changing the way we work, live and communicate


We’re on the move more than ever before: from increased global travel, to our escalating use of mobile devices on a daily basis. Let’s face it, tweeting on smartphones and browsing on tablets have become as much a part of our day-to-day routines as brushing our teeth and getting dressed.

This increasingly mobile world has produced a new generation. #GenMobile are a group of people for whom smartphones have gone beyond personal entertainment and BYOD. In fact, they’re now shaping their lives, especially their working lives, around mobile devices.

This report will give you a greater understanding of just how to spot #GenMobile, what they expect in the workplace and how, as an employer, you can best cater to their mobile needs.

#GenMobile covers respondents of all ages. We have also defined a younger #GenMobile group via a cross-section of the survey base who showed the highest preference for mobility at home and work. The younger #GenMobile group happen to be between the ages of 18-35.

Hold the phone: mobile leads the way

Aruba Networks has recently completed research to take stock of mobility’s increasing prominence in our working lives. The online survey, carried out in November 2013 by Shape the Future, asked over 5,000 members of the public across the USA, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

The aim of the research was simple: to expose how enterprise workers use their mobile devices in and out of the workplace and the importance of mobile devices to their lifestyles. The research showed that 86% of all respondents have two or more connected devices (those with the ability to connect to the internet), and nearly two thirds (64%) already own three or more connected mobile devices. Another 39% own four or more. The prevalence and effectiveness of tech devices is affecting the way we choose to work, in and out of the office, and this report will reveal how companies need to shape up for a generation of mobile-ready workers.

Welcome to a new working world

Like it or not, we live in a world where our smartphones occupy nearly every pause in our day. Chances are your phone is on your desk, in your pocket, or in your bag right now.

The connected nature of today’s technology means a close friend, or indeed that demanding work client, is only a text or email away. It also means stepping out of the office door, doesn’t mean you’ve left work – for good and for bad. And this presents both challenge and opportunity.

Now, the notion of ‘traditional’ working hours is slipping away. Mobile devices allow us to hop on to Wi-Fi connections and work when we’re not at ‘work’, making flexible working the order of the day. This is not borne out of laziness however; 45% of respondents say they work most efficiently before 9am or after 6pm. Introducing flexibility in the working day could help increase productivity.

Technology is giving us the choice, and the ability, to work outside of customary remits. As a result, employers need to consider whether their present regulations are becoming outdated. Particularly as 70% of people prefer flexible working than working 9 to 5 with an early finish on Fridays.

The demand for flexible working hours is not simply a nice-to-have, it’s now a top priority. Over half of those surveyed said they’d prefer to work from home or remotely two to three days a week than receive a 10% higher salary. Therefore, flexibility might be an opportunity for companies to create cost-savings, as well as improve productivity.

Working out of the office is also on the up. Globally 37% expect an increase of remote working – just 4.5% foresee a decrease. By country, those in South Africa are likely to increase their remote hours by the most, with almost a quarter (23%) expecting an increase in remote working of over 25%.

For younger #GenMobile, this leaning towards remote working is amplified: 49% of the group forecast an increase in the time they spend working remotely in 2014.

The demand for flexibility is just one of the markers of a member of #GenMobile, of course. As this report will reveal, trends for mobile device usage and the overwhelming preference for Wi-Fi connectivity over other forms of connectivity, look set to be extended still further by this new generation.

We love mobile devices more than ever

Mobile devices are everywhere – and their popularity shows no signs of abating. A third of us spend over a third of our day on mobile devices. Smartphones are still proving to be the go-to tech device, and was the most popular device bought across the globe last year, with over half (51%) of consumers purchasing them. However this figure was 70% for the younger #GenMobile respondent.

How many hours in your week are spent ‘mobile’?

Tablets, while slightly less prevalent, continue to prove a hit. Almost half (45%) of those surveyed have bought tablets in the past 12 months. Somewhat unsurprisingly, these device purchasing habits are being driven by younger #GenMobile – who are acquiring more devices than any other demographic.