In 1998, the New Yorker published a cartoon with the caption “You don’t get an office. You get cargo pants.” By the time the cartoon started circulating (nearly 2 decades ago), the world was still trying to figure out how “telecommuting” would affect a workplace population that was by then dominated by clerical workers.

Would workers end up operating from booths next to their laundry rooms? Would the entry of telephone-connected workers lead to the disappearance of corporate headquarters? As it turns out, the “cargo pants” prediction eventually came to pass – only that instead of cargo pants, smartphones are the ones that took over.

This decade has been a big year for the world of work. From growing numbers reflecting increased uptake of mobile phone technology to the introduction of mobile apps in the workplace, businesses globally seem to have realized the opportunities that mobile brings to the workplace in terms of productivity, communication, and collaboration.

Likewise, the job-seekers market has evolved in a great way. A 2015 study conducted by The Adecco Group showed that 45 percent of job seekers look for jobs daily using their mobile devices. An even more significant 89 percent think mobile devices play a pivotal role in job hunting. That reflects a sharp increase from 66 percent reported by Indeed, an American employment related search engine, in 2014.

Today’s workforce is mainly made up of millennials; with the average millennial spending approximately 50 days a year on their smartphone, it means that today’s employee is inseparable from their mobile device. A recent study by the Bank of America showed the majority of people first reach for their smartphone in the morning instead of toothbrushes or coffee.

Not Just a Millenial’s Thing

Interestingly, this trend is not just limited to the millennials. Another study recently confirmed that 91% of adults keep a smartphone within their arm’s reach daily. Recruiters looking to reach employees in an effective way going forward may, therefore, need to adopt a mobile-specific approach going forward. With the era of push notifications beckoning, there is bound to be major improvements in electronic communication.

At the workplace, the rise of non-desk working seems to be gradually giving way to mobile. Across the globe, approximately 80 percent of the workforce can be defined as “non-desk” labor force. This trend has fundamentally turned the traditional work environment upside down. Words never heard of before like working from home, flexible hours or working from the field have now become commonplace. Even those who still have to report to a brick-and-mortar workplace every day are still glued to their mobile phones during the commute or when grabbing coffee.

Powered By Convenience

Mobile technology and in particular enterprise-related apps play a significant role in facilitating non-desk work. By delivering information creatively using this medium, employees can be better engaged. Likewise, critical communications are not missed all thanks to notification features available on smartphones.

With the workplace going mobile comes an opportunity for employees to learn. Organizations can utilize this opportunity to keep their employees up to speed with company-wide goals, company values, and even new business development.

Convenience is indeed a major driver of mobile uptake in the professional world. Mobile phones, particularly modern smartphones, are quick and can be used to fetch loads of information while one is on the move. Job seekers today are carrying out their job searches when it is most convenient for them. With the closeness of mobile phones to the hand, it is much easier for them to turn mobile instead of using a PC.

There is, therefore, a need for companies to offer mobile-friendly websites. Areas that particularly need paying close attention to include the application process, job postings and careers websites.

That said, we are looking at a future where some jobs might disappear as artificial intelligence (AI) takes over. It is therefore important for professionals looking to grow their careers to quickly adapt to these emerging technologies. Indeed, as Malcolm X once put it “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today”.

Those seeking to remain relevant with technology, whether recruiters or job seekers need to move with the flow. Organizations need to encourage their employees to embrace mobile users instead of discouraging this habit. Likewise, recruiters need to burn midnight oil coming up with innovations that cater to the needs of the elusive mobile job seeker.

Whether it is through use of apps, implementing BYOD plans or delivering learning material in bite-sized format, the mobile-powered human capital is for sure here to stay.

Richard Nolan is a writer and a private tutor, sharing his experience in spheres of writing, blogging, entrepreneurship, and psychology.

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