Younger mobile workers challenge IT to keep up

Expectations of young workers using mobile devices for work are challenging IT to keep up, says a new survey sponsored by Wi-Fi vendor Aruba Networks.

Younger workers (between the ages of 18 and 35) tend to fall into a group called GenMobile, which Aruba defines as individuals who show the highest preference for mobility. These individuals tend to be in the early stages of their careers, own three or more connected devices and feel more productive working from home, according to an online survey (.pdf) of 5,000 individuals from the U.S., Europe and the Middle East and Africa.

"GenMobile no longer thinks about desktop computers and phones; there is an app for all of that. GenMobile is almost always connected wirelessly," Manav Khurana, vice president of products and solutions marketing for Aruba, tells FierceMobileIT.

GenMobile workers focus their working lives around their mobile devices and expect their company to put in place policies and infrastructure needed for their mobile workstyle, the survey found. More than one-third of respondents said that they prefer to use their personal device at work, rather than a corporate provided device, Khurana says.

A majority of GenMobile prefer Wi-Fi connectivity over cellular or wired connections. Nearly one third would rather have than employer pay a stipend for their smartphone of choice than receive a higher salary or have their lunch paid for by their employer.

GenMobile are more likely to access mobile apps such as Facebook and Twitter, and they are also 20 percent more likely to access and respond to work emails on their mobile device.

Khurana enumerates five imperatives for IT in supporting GenMobile at the workplace. "The first one is to have Wi-Fi as a utility…The second is that IT can enable the wireless workplace that does not have a phone at every desk…The third imperative is that IT must provide self-service tools so that security and network configuration can be implemented on new mobile devices and apps automatically…The fourth imperative is that we believe IT has to make mobile device operation at work a lot simpler…The fifth imperative is to engage customers and employees on their mobile devices and leverage the location of each individual."

For more:
- check out the Aruba report

Related Articles:
Mobility, big data will combine to transform enterprises, says Forrester
IT's heavy hand will cause one-fifth of BYOD projects to fail, predicts Gartner
Flood of BYOD devices challenges IT security pros