Your Workforce Is More Mobile – And You Should Be Too is reporting that they are noticing a trend that employers should pay attention to. It promises to have a significant affect on the way we communicate with employees and even possibly how much we can keep track of employees.

The Trend

WirelessWeek reports that the trend as they see it involves a “shift in the workplace from a ‘one size fits all’ model to a more personalized experience in IT support and service.” They report that more and more workers are looking for an individualized experience and are choosing a wider variety of devices to use. As we hire more millennials and make greater use of freelance workers they bring an ever increasing array of devices they are comfortable in using. This will stress both IT and HR in deciding who can use what, how they will be controlled and what are the consequences of misuse. I have written a number of times about the move toward the “employee experience.” This move to allow and deal with a greater array of mobile devices may be part of the shift towards the “employee experience.” But it comes with the challenge of a larger number and wider array of contingent workers who bring their own devices to the job.

The Mobile Workforce

WirelessWeek reports that in 2016 38.8% of the workforce was truly mobile. That will increase to 42.5% by the year 2022. This means their primary work device becomes more mobile as well. WirelessWeek says:

“As workers become increasingly mobile, so does their primary work device. Employees are moving toward smaller, more portable devices, and tablets, wearables, and ultrabooks are expected to be the primary work devices by 2020. In particular, wearables will see considerable adoption as the segment moves beyond a fad into delivering purposeful experiences and driving economic efficiencies.”

The most likely wearable will be glasses and smart watches. Think FitBit here.

The Challenge of Apps

With this mobile workforce, especially freelancers, comes the introduction of a lot of apps being used that have not been vetted by either IT or HR for acceptability. This makes for an ever increasing security problem for the organization. One suggestion I read about last week it to have an array of apps employees can use that have already been vetted by IT and HR. The company can then have its own app store that employees, and others given access, can download without prior approval.

Upside and Downside

The one upside, or downside, depending on whose perspective you are taking is that we will be able to better track these devices and the workers that are using them. From smart phones, to tablets, to trackers most workers will be loath to set them aside and as a result employers will be able to see not only what they are working on, but also where they happen to be conducting that work and when. That last piece may be important depending on what happens with the FLSA.

So are you ready to be a more mobile ready organization? You should be, as it may determine not only how successful your workforce, but also who your workforce is.

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Mike Haberman

Michael (Mike) D. Haberman, SPHR is a consultant, speaker, writer of HR Observations, and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc. After over 30 years in HR he got tired of the past and focuses here on the Future of HR. Connect with Mike.


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