A new breed of employees, dubbed as 'GenMobile', who rely on mobile devices for every aspect of work and personal communication, are forcing workplaces to be more flexible and mobile, according to new research from Aruba Networks.
The research (PDF) showed that 84 percent of respondents would not use a desktop if they were giving the choice and would much prefer to use their mobile devices instead. At the same time, 51 percent are using mobile devices to help manage their lives for work and non-work activities. Also, more than half (58 percent) would prefer to use a Wi-Fi connection rather than be connected to a traditional 4G, 3G, or wired connections.
Aruba Networks ANZ managing director Steve Coad said the findings suggest there's a "massive transition" happening with the rise of the "connected person".
"It's not just happening with Gen Y; it's with everybody. You sometimes just look around at how many people are looking down at their mobile devices as opposed to reading a magazine, and it's quite extraordinary that everyone wants to be connected all the time," he said.
For businesses, the report reveals that the so-called 'GenMobile' are shaping their work lives around their mobile devices. Over four in ten (45 percent) believe they work most efficiently before 9am or after 6pm, with 37 percent expecting their number of remote workings hours to increase in the next 12 months.
Coad advises that businesses need to begin embracing this new breed of workers as they are ultimately going to be more productive if they are able to work any time, any place, and on any device.
"I think they need to embrace with it. As their staff become more mobile and begins working from home or from cafes, people are looking at their employees to use timeshare rather than mindshare ... which means a more productive workforce, and they have enable it with devices, apps, and better connectivity."
From a structural support perspective, Coad believes more bandwidth needs to be provided by businesses and government to support the nature of different apps that are being used by consumers.
"[Australia's] adoption of devices is right up there and leading the world. We have some of the highest numbers of in terms of penetration rate. But where we've been lagging behind is the in public Wi-Fi or free Wi-Fi availability, but we are rapidly starting to catch up," he said.
"We've been lagging behind because of the geography of this country, and the carriers in the market are not so competitive."
Coad cited the benefits some of Aruba Networks' customers such as KFC and Hungry Jacks have seen since recently implementing free Wi-Fi into its stores.
"They're using it to keep their customers in the store longer, and the longer the customer spends in the stores the more they're likely to buy. But you've got to give them high performance Wi-Fi because if you give them a bad experience they won't return," he said.