The New Workplace Currency

One of the rare non-Apple laptops seen in an otherwise cool park full of cool people
Ed Yourdon / / CC BY-SA

It’s no longer about the corner office.  Or the health plan.  Or the car allowance.  Having a flexible work-style and freedom to choose the devices you use to be productive are the new workplace currency.


The phenomenon of consumerization of technology has led to a revolution of sorts in the workplace.  As employees we’re no longer content to be constrained by the standardised and often behind-the-times technology services provided by the business.  In any case, we’re willing – and able – to go around the businesses IT if it’s not meeting our needs.  And we want to be productive on any device and at any time.


Now none of those points are particularly new but the relevance of them for all businesses – large and small – is greatly accelerating due to being at somewhat of a tipping point with our workforce. Gen Y workers (those currently around the 18 – 30 y.o. age bracket) are the fastest growing segment of the workforce.  By 2020 they’ll make up the largest proportion.  They are the first generation to have grown up through their early teenage years and in to adulthood within this new era of consumerization of technology.


They are possibly the first generation with a genuine expectation of being given the most modern tools and work places to be successful in their jobs.  In fact there’s a number of studies which show the next generation of workers prioritise device flexibility and work mobility over more traditional job factors – one study showing close to half of the respondents under 30 would favour a job offer with a flexible device and work style policy over one with a slightly higher salary but no such flexibility.

If you have kids or know some in their late teens or early twenties think about this:  If you gave them a choice of losing their car or this smart phone over a weekend what do you think most would choose?  I think the overwhelming majority would choose the car.  Our next generation of workers are intrinsically wired to technology – it’s part of their life, part of every hour – perhaps even every minute – of their day.  Most simply need it to operate and this certainly extends in to their work life.  Employers must keep this top of mind when recruiting great new talent.

Forget the corner office and company car.  Work on enabling your employees to work from all corners of the globe on any of the many devices they’ll own.  That’s going to give you a much greater currency in the modern era of working.

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