Commentary

Survey: Most Young Workers Would Quit Jobs Over Mobile Access

While some bosses may worry their younger employees are wasting time on mobile devices -- and are probably entirely correct about this -- they would be well advised to let sleeping dogs lie and millennials be millennials. Because younger workers might well quit if they aren’t allowed to use mobile devices at work for non-work-related purposes, according to a poll of 3,500 professionals worldwide conducted by Harris Poll for MobileIron.

At least, that’s what they say: 60% of respondents said they would leave their jobs if their boss restricted their ability to do personal tasks at work, typically via mobile devices. At the same time they know it’s not quite kosher, as 58% admitted feeling guilty about their use of mobile devices at work. And 61% also felt guilty about work invading their personal lives through mobile devices, distracting them from their families and personal responsibilities. So basically they just feel guilty about everything.

Currently younger workers (ages 34 and under) say they do 26% of their work on tablets or smartphones, on average, while 82% said they use mobile devices to deal with a personal matter while at work at least once a day. Conversely, 64% do at least one work-related task during personal hours in an average day.

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MobileIron points out that these problems (personal life intruding on work and vice versa) will only grow more pervasive with the rise of wearable devices like the Apple Watch, which puts notifications and alerts on our wrists.

Indeed, this trend is unfortunately unlikely to reverse, despite efforts by some European countries to impose limits on when bosses can contact their employees. Senior executives inevitably set the pace for the rest of their organizations, and if something is bothering them in the middle of the night, thanks to mobile devices they can make sure it’s bothering everyone else without even getting out of bed (actually, they are probably pacing like a caged tiger, but that’s beside the point).

In short, this kind of intrusion is the price employees pay for the kind of flexibility they have come to expect at the workplace, the basic deal being: “Sure you can talk to your kids and check Facebook at work -- as long as you pick up the phone when I’m hyperventilating about corporate reviews at 2 a.m.”

Just remember, always feel guilty!

2 comments about "Survey: Most Young Workers Would Quit Jobs Over Mobile Access".
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  1. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, April 21, 2015 at 12:12 p.m.

    That's a good idea, because millennials are the only ones who interrupt their work day with non-work, mobile-related tasks. That's why no one else ever posts on Facebook or Tweets in the middle of the day or reads Mediapost columns when they should be working (I'm eating lunch right now).

  2. Ram Srinivasan from EZCorp, April 22, 2015 at 4:46 a.m.

    When work has intruded into personal lives, why not the other way around? How many of us have read office emails or responded to when we are with family?

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