There's a radical shift in how people work, and you can see it at at corner coffee shop. More people are using laptops remotely than ever before, and some of us have figured out how to real work on a phone (usually with a Bluetooth keyboard).

Recently, I asked a noted expert--Michael Park, the Vice President and General Manager of Mobility at HP--about the changes he sees now and in the future. I was particularly interested in how the gadgets will change.

1. We've heard of a shift from desktop to mobile for some time, but what are the latest trends?

Park: In the last decade, we've seen a dramatic shift from working at your desktop to working on a mobile device. Work is no longer contained to a single, physical location --it's more about what you can do, not where. This idea particularly resonates among the growing Millennial workforce, who are expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2020.

As a result, we're seeing more companies finding ways to embrace mobile. For example, seven percent of companies have built mobile apps to facilitate workflow for their employees. And 75 percent of business travelers take at least three devices with them, with their smartphone as the primary device.

Monitoring trends, like an evolving workforce and a shift to mobility, is paramount as we design and engineer new technology for our customers. The current status quo for mobility is largely about Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) but we think there is a void that sits between BYOD and PC-based productivity that needs to address how we help highly mobile employees become PC-level productive in a mobile state.

2. What percentage of time do people work mobile these days, where was that five years ago, and where is it headed?

Park: While I can't speak directly to how many people were working mobile five years ago, we're certainly focused on current and future trends in terms of mobility.

According to our own (as yet unpublished) research, 62% of people work from home or at offsite locations. With the rise of the Millennial workforce who are actively looking for jobs that offer the flexibility to working from multiple locations, we're going to see mobility become more and more commonplace.

As a direct result, with companies competing over talent [acquisition], we're likely to see more accommodations made for those who are interested in working outside of a traditional office setting, as we're seeing with 88 percent of HR managers who are reporting that employees have quit due to a lack of telework flexibility. If employers want to entice top talent, offering mobile solutions that enable the same workflow and technology experience at work, on the go or at home are a must.

But giving employees the ability to work anywhere doesn't benefit only employees. In fact, studies have suggested that employees who use mobile apps for work are 34 percent more productive. In short, it's a win, win.

3. There's still this sense that, when you really need to get things done, you go to an office. What needs to change before we don't think that anymore?

Park: There are a couple of barriers many businesses still struggle with when considering a move to a more mobile workforce: Company culture and access to the right technology.

Unfortunately, we can't force the hand of a company to change their culture overnight. But as the Millennial workforce increases, companies will need to factor in mobility as a consideration for the reasons I shared above. When a company is ready to embrace mobility, it takes time and planning. Which means getting the right technology in place so employees have access to the tools, applications, data and even people to be just as - if not more - productive than they would be in a traditional office setting. At HP, our job has been focused on finding mobile solutions that play to a variety of verticals, that will allow for office-like productively while mobile, eventually changing perception.

4. What emerging tech will help make mobile work more viable every day of the week?

Park: In the short term, we'll see cellular network speeds continue to improve, along with battery life and expanded capabilities of mobile devices. Increased CPU performance as well as cloud security all factor into making mobility more viable option for businesses. And finding new ways to virtualize previously desktop-only applications for use on mobile devices--like our upcoming HP Workspace virtualization solution--will be imperative to drive workforce mobility in the future.

Published on: Aug 31, 2016
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