How Mobile Devices Have Defined the Millenial Workplace
By: Vlad Moldavskiy 03/21/2015
If you talk with millenials about mobile technology in the workplace, you will find that they have a different definition of a workplace environment. The newest generation of workers is the royalty of DIY entrepreneurship, often starting their own businesses, freelancing, or consulting. With a tablet or smartphone in hand, the millenial workplace is the perfect representation of on-the-go business.
If you are a boss from an older generation, consider transitioning the more traditional workspace to open up your workforce to mobile communication. The Facebook generation does not need or expect face-to-face leadership to be effective and productive. Most millenials assume that the boss will call after hours and that they will need to brainstorm and work remotely. Smart leaders are using this trend to their advantage, increasing work hours and productivity. In conjunction with cloud technology, the newest version of the iPhone allows an employee to work from anywhere in the world. By having everything in the cloud, the millenial worker can use their mobile device to complete work at any time.
However, not everything about mobile technology has positively changed the current workscape. The assumption that the phone can ring at any moment and that you need to work after hours has become a source of stress in the millenial culture. Too much or too little technology is a growing concern for business environments. For those accustomed to having a mobile device in their hands, the issue of maintaining a work-life balance is more present than ever.
For better or for worse, we're moving towards a world where mobile technology is beginning to replace face-to-face communication. With so many remote employees, dress codes are optional and distance is irrelevant for many companies. Now, workers buy and sell houses, make mergers, and create art, all remotely.
One of the newer pieces of mobile office technology is the mobile remote presence (MRP) robot, which is being used at companies like Coca Cola, Google, and the Mayo Clinic. While some video technology is static, forcing team members to come to the camera, the MRP robot goes to the team. The user can drive the robot from location to location, giving the remote employee the ability to see production, development, and work areas without the need to travel to the office. It's a concept that may seem too complicated or futuristic for some, but surveyed companies that use this technology are reporting positive results, according to ACM Digital Library.
It's vaguely reminiscent of a sci-fi story where the eccentric genius only interacts via technology, but today's worker can easily succeed and advance in their career without ever meeting their boss face-to-face. Career advancement is one of the most important work qualities for the millennial, but not at the expense of freedom, claims the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). It's exactly why many young workers opt to freelance. Smart employers will capitalize on this need and open opportunities for advancement without linking them to office time.