Smartphones are one of the most transformative technologies of the decade, but how are work trends changing the ways we use them?
Part of our Smarter Everyday philosophy revolves around mobile mastery, the idea that you should know when to put your phone away so you can concentrate on what’s happening around you – whether it’s work or play. That’s often easier said than done, but there are work trends that have a definite effect on how we use our most beloved mobile devices.
1. Millennials entering the workforce
I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing about the Millennials and their supposed tech obsession by now, but the truth of the matter is that they are in fact changing how we use technology, and especially smartphones, in the workplace. As the Baby Boomers begin to retire, there is an influx of Millennials entering the workforce, with their generation expected to account for 36% of the American workforce this year and a whopping 75% of the global workforce by 2025. And guess what—they’re bringing their newfangled smartphones to work with them. Surveys have suggested that businesses have been unable to stop at-work smartphone use, so what do you do then? You embrace it, of course!
2. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
BYOD refers to the burgeoning trend of, well, exactly what it says—workers bringing their own tech devices into the workplace. Views on the value of BYOD are divided, with some employers believing that it increases both productivity and morale, and other employers labeling it as a security risk and distraction. In any case, the major point here is that workers are bringing their personal smartphone to work with them, which also means that they are often taking their work home with them. This could be seen as either a boon or a bane; increased dependence on smartphones means an increase in global communication and flexibility, but it also means an increase in the “always on” mentality. You might be able to take care of tasks from the beach, but the old excuse of “I wasn’t home” just doesn’t work anymore.
3. Company apps are in
The saying “There’s an app for that” has been around for awhile, but it’s more accurate than ever before, particularly in the workplace. Apps that aim to increase work efficiency and provide easy solutions to work-related problems are certainly on the rise. And this makes sense with more people using their smartphones for work these days. In fact, there is currently an increased interest in the production of tailor-made in-house apps for mobile made specifically for employees.
Microsoft itself uses company apps for everything from arranging meetings to claiming expenses. As Petri Asunmaa, Senior Solution Delivery Manager, at Microsoft IT. “With these apps, you can take advantage of the short free moments in your working day to complete simple duties quickly and easily.”
4. Email is out
Speaking of the increase in app use, many workers are beginning to abandon the old standby of email in favor of quicker and easier forms of communication that weren’t an option before the advent of the smartphone. Apps like Whatsapp or even good ol’ SMS enable us to communicate freely without needing to dredge through piles of email, a task which, according to a 2012 McKinsey report, corporate workers spend nearly one-third of their time doing. However, although many workers are increasing efficiency by abandoning email, it remains one of the most useful tools in the workplace—whether or not that will be true in the future has yet to be discovered.
5. Social media is a must
Sure, we’re all aware that social media has become a major form of communication in the past few years—but it’s not just a form of communication these days, it’s a necessary form of communication. The majority of businesses use some type of social media for various reasons. One example would be for customer service, a use that is on the rise with an estimated half of B2C companies using social media for this purpose.
Remember how email is on the way out? Well, people are turning to social media for their customer service, and not only do they expect a reply, but they expect a fast reply. Smartphones make it possible for employees to interact with customers efficiently. In addition to this, according to staff.com, 92% of companies use social media for recruiting, meaning that it’s more important than ever for job-seekers to have easy access to social media outlets.
These are just five of the many working trends that are currently changing how we use smartphones and perhaps more importantly, how we communicate overall. Needless to say there are many more. If you’ve experienced any that are changing the way you work or any of the above, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Image credit: Joe Shlabotnik