Smartphones’ Journey From School to Your Workplace

At some point in the not-too-distant future your employees will likely be using their smartphones to help run your company. I say that after seeing a recent article in The Wall Street Journal about kids’ use of smartphone in schools.

Smartphones’ use is growing rapidly in the classroom. Consider these points from the article:

• Students prefer their smartphone to their “bulky laptop.” Desktop computers are barely mentioned in the article. Even when they have a computer or tablet at their fingertips, many prefer their phone.

• In one program kids are allowed to use their phones. My point here is that they are not required, i.e., they see it as a privilege to use their own equipment. For the last couple of years in the workplace there’s been a debate about whether employers could ask or require employees to use their own phones or tablets. That dynamic is clearly changing.

• One educator estimates that 90% of his students have smartphones noting that, “Pretty much everybody has one.” Today’s student is tomorrow’s employee. They’ll be bringing their smartphones with them, along with the expectation of using it to get work done.

This will cause some challenges for managers going forward because these young employees will come to the workplace with very different work habits than the Gen-X and Baby Boom generations. But figuring them out will be worth it, because the productivity gains they’ll cause will make a big difference for tomorrow’s organizations.

Frank Kenna III
February 24, 2016

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