There is a lot of hype these days about the ubiquity of mobile. Much of the conversation focuses on which type of device is capturing the most (or the least) market share and whether people access the Internet on an iPad or a smartphone most often. What’s more important than the device wars is the fact that mobile “free[s] people from having to decide which device to use. If you sit in your office, mobile means using your laptop. If you sit at home, mobile means using whatever device happens to be within reach. If you are on the bus, mobile means using what is in your hand.”
From where we stand, one of the most interesting aspects of the mobile revolution is the way it has blurred the lines between workplace technology and personal technology; leading to some interesting (and often challenging), developments in the workplace.
Bring Your Own Device
The emergence of BYOD is one example. As people become more reliant on personal mobile devices, they are less willing to give them up in favor of an employer’s technology during the work day. One recent study found that 42% of respondents would rather do without their wallet, house keys or cars keys for two days than give up their smart phone for the same period of time. Another study found that 83% of Millennials have brought their phones to bed with them! In the face of such strong attachments, implementing a BYOD policy may be an employer’s only viable strategy for managing the use of mobile devices at work.
Managing People in a Mobile World
Another aspect of the workplace that is being greatly affected by the explosion of mobile technology is general administration and the day-to-day management of people. Employees who are accustomed to accessing information about everything in a matter of seconds, and ordering anything online from wherever they happen to be, have no patience for outmoded systems that can only be accessed at their desk, rely on others to update, or require paper-based requests for approval.
While employee self-service (ESS) may have been introduced as a cost saving measure, with the advent of ubiquitous mobile, ESS and management self-service (MSS have become baseline requirements. When a process seems the slightest bit cumbersome, today’s employees seek out a time saving smartphone application to improve it. They expect their employers to do the same. A few of the many work-related things employees and managers expect to be able to do via their mobile devices include:
- Update basic personal information.
- Request vacation time.
- Approve vacation time and have it automatically update the company vacation calendar.
- Notify a manager of a sick day.
- Acknowledge and log an employee’s sick day.
- Update the status of a goal or project.
- Search an employee directory.
Ubiquitous Mobile is Just the Beginning
These expectations will continue to expand over time, because being connected via multiple channels at all times has created a completely new environment in the workplace and beyond. This new environment provides the foundation to support even greater connectivity and integration in the future. In the workplace, we already see how the combination of mobile, integrated HCM technologies and improved human capital predictive analytics are providing powerful new business tools and insights. No doubt, at this fascinating intersection of people and technology, the workplace will continue to evolve in interesting and challenging ways.
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