A new breed of employees, GenMobile, is challenging the traditional work patterns in the UAE.
GenMobile are employees defined by their preference for mobility both in terms of the devices they use and their approach to work. Rather than acting as an aide to the workday, GenMobile are shaping their working lives around their mobile devices. With the ability to work effectively any time, any place and on any device, they expect employers to make the policy and structural changes necessary to enable their preferred form of working.
An Aruba Networks survey suggests most of employees work more efficiently from home rather than an office.
“We’ve seen flexible working, and always-on connectivity in UAE growing for some time, but this report shows that it’s now become a way of life for those in the modern workforce,” said Ammar Enaya, Regional Director at Aruba Networks Middle East & Turkey.
“What this report suggests is that GenMobile won’t have patience with companies who do not accommodate their mobile lives. In order to attract and keep the best employees, businesses in UAE need to start looking for solutions to ensure levels of empowerment and productivity in this emerging working world. Ultimately, many will have to totally redefine traditional work environments.”
Alongside the demand for increased mobility, the report calls for companies to take heed of GenMobile associated technology requirements. For example, while the majority (70 per cent) of the typical GenMobile demands Wi-Fi or mobile broadband connectivity (12 per cent more than average), operator-run technologies such as 3G and 4G are only preferred by 7 per cent and 5 per cent of respondents respectively.
“Making the necessary workplace changes needs to be supplemented with solid technology choices; employers will only succeed in motivating GenMobile workers if they have the security and connections available to facilitate this shift,” added Enaya.
Trends in the UAE that is driving GenMobile
In its report, the company, identifies the below trends in the UAE that is driving GenMobile into the workforce.
1. Mobile device ownership: Ownership of mobile products in UAE is the highest globally with 84 per cent of respondents in UAE owning three or more connected devices and they also display the highest ownership of tablets in the survey (42 per cent).
2. Wi-Fi matters: A very high three quarter (75 per cent) of respondents in UAE prefer Wi-Fi at the expense of other connections (4G, 3G or wired), while 77 per cent declare that their mobile devices help them to manage their lives.
3. Money isn’t everything: Nearly half (48 per cent) of UAE respondents would prefer to work from home two to three days a week than receive a 10 per cent higher salary and over one-third (35 per cent) would rather have their employer pay for the smartphone of their choice than a 5 per cent higher salary.
4. A new workday is emerging: Over four in ten (42 per cent) believe they work most efficiently before 9am or after 6pm rather than traditional working hours.
5. Work from home: 42 per cent respondents in UAE say they work most efficiently from home as compared to an office, café or other public spaces.
6. All things connected: It’s no surprise that a little under two-thirds (63 per cent) want their cars connected but it is interesting to see over one half (53 per cent) want their clothes or shoes or kitchen appliances such as cookers and fridges to be connected in the next five years.
7. Tech at work is essential: A quarter (25 per cent) would rather be able to bring their own device to work than have an office with a window, and over two thirds (67 per cent) would rather their company paid for their choice of device than provided them with lunch.
8. Remote working on the rise: Over half (51 per cent) expect their number of remote work hours to increase in the next twelve months.
How to spot GenMobile
The typical GenMobile abides by the ‘anywhere, anytime’ principles of flexible working, where office hours are no longer constrained to the traditional workday, demand flexible work locations over higher salaries and request reliable internet, asking for Wi-Fi versus 4G, 3G or wired connections. The majority of GenMobile are in the early stages of their career, owns three or more connected devices, and feels most productive when working from home.
GenMobile are so attached to their mobile devices that they are 15 times more likely to give up coffee and seven times more likely to say goodbye to their televisions than their beloved smartphones.
The report says understanding and catering to GenMobile’s needs can be the key to a productive workforce, while also ensuring global companies are in a competitive position.
For example GenMobile are more likely than other groups to access mobile apps such as Facebook (17 per cent) and Twitter (14 per cent). But they are also 20 per cent more likely to access and respond to work emails on their mobile device. For GenMobile, mobile is second nature to both a work and personal life.
However, there remains space for human interaction in the life of a GenMobile. Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) indicated that they still value the time when they can disconnect their devices, suggesting that companies must be able to provide effective downtime when it is needed.