Work from Phone: An Office in the Palm of Our Hands

The ideal work environment is mobile—not just on-the-go, work-from-anywhere mobile but also via mobile devices. According to a recent survey of over 1,200 U.S. adults, more than 1 in 5 would like to perform all work from their phone in the future. In fact, 1 in 4 Americans never want to go back to an office again. This tracks with data that shows nearly 80% of the global workforce is now deskless, working outside of the traditional “9 to 5” office environment and conventional workplace norms.

Mobile Is the Future

According to research conducted by Google, 80% of the world’s population uses smartphones. The study also found that more people are likely to solely use a smartphone (27%) than solely use a computer (14%). Among millennials, who make up a sizable chunk of the global workforce, the statistics shoot up. Nearly all millennials (97%) own and use mobile phones, and 90% of this demographic always have their phone nearby.

We can see the future is very much literally in the palm of our hands.

With everyone already using their mobile phones throughout the day, implementing mobile-based workflows or training programs provides a seamless experience and eliminates barriers. There is a natural flow of work, and incorporating that within the devices employees are already accustomed to using is critical to evolving with the future of work. Allowing employees to complete training how and when it best suits them will make training feel more like an opportunity to improve their skills and earning potential rather than a chore that needs to be ticked off.

Perhaps the biggest selling point of mobile anywhere is accessibility. Flexibility and agility will be keys to business success in the future, and mobile offers both. By building a mobile-first approach as a business, employees can complete tasks from virtually anywhere at any time. This vastly broadens the supply of employees and allows for the flow of work to be uninterrupted.

If mobile is the future, how can companies make sure they are ready? The secret lies in technology. By embracing the right platforms and solutions to facilitate flexible working, seamless communication, effective learning, and a strong culture, it doesn’t matter where an employee is working from. 

Digital Transformation

For a majority of the global workforce, the pandemic completely shifted how we work. The last 2 years have encouraged companies to push for digital transformation. Technology is at the core of many businesses, so it’s no surprise that the on-demand and deskless workforce continues to evolve by implementing technology in a variety of ways. In fact, 70% of deskless workers report that more technology would help them do their jobs better.

Though projects such as driverless cars, autonomous robots, and drone delivery generate plenty of excitement, the real innovation needs to focus on optimizing workforces and meeting customer demand. Big data offers ample opportunities for companies to better understand and improve their operations, and the rise of mobile learning technology provides employers with an opportunity to curb turnover and deliver crucial training straight into the hands of their deskless workers. 

The real innovation in digital transformation is optimizing workforces for success to enable the individuals, as well as the companies, to meet key performance indicators (KPIs), using data to better understand and improve operations. On demand and deskless are the future of work, but implementing transformative tech is critical to the success. For example, more than 1 in 5 people (22%) in the U.S. workforce no longer want face-to-face training and onboarding, solidifying the need for virtual and mobile education/upskilling technology and tools. The time is now to reallocate resources and meet employees where they are: on their mobile devices.

However, 38% of the U.S. workforce believes their company has not invested in digital transformation due to budget issues and cost constraints. Additionally, 28% of the U.S. workforce between the ages of 18 and 34 think their workplace is lacking tech and digital tools because their company is led by an older generation. These baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) still dominate the C-suite (where the average age is 56, according to a report by Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm) and might be resistant to, or don’t understand, the importance of technology advancements.

With the increase in both the number of smartphone users globally and the time they are spending on mobile daily, a mobile-first approach to work will be crucial to the success of a company. Utilizing mobile is a more efficient way to operate, enabling the scale of unified communications and learning and development (L&D) material. In the coming years, HR departments and L&D managers will need to make an effort to double down on training and development for their workforce via mobile.

This is paramount in the competitive landscape of the future of work; when people have access to the information they need to succeed at their fingertips, you empower their success.

Jacob Waern is the Founder and CEO of eduMe. Waern oversees the company’s mission to provide the deskless workforce with a modern and effective on-demand learning experience.

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