by Tom Kaneshige

‘GenMobile’ Thinks Beyond 9-to-5

Jan 22, 20143 mins
IT JobsIT LeadershipMobile

A new workday is emerging among the younger mobile generation, but while millennials excel at blending work and personal activities on weekends and into the night, the productivity comes on their terms.

In 1980, before millennials were born, a comedy about three women working in an office for a sexist boss landed at movie theaters across the country. It was called “Nine to Five,” starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin and based on Parton’s hit song of the same name.

'GenMobile' Goes Beyond 9-to-5

Flash forward 30-something years, and sexism in the workplace is still here but the hours and work settings have changed dramatically. A new title for today’s millennial mobile workforce might be: “Before 9 After 6 p.m.

Meet ‘GenMobile’

One of the key findings in a survey of more than 5,000 people by Aruba Networks shows a new workday emerging among the younger mobile generation, which Aruba calls GenMobile, with 45 percent of respondents saying they work most efficiently during these odd hours. Indeed, millennials are taking over the workforce and bringing their unique work habits with them, blending work and personal activities on single devices, on weekends and into the wee hours.

[Related: How to Better Engage Millennials (and Why They Aren’t Really so Different)]

Highlighting this phenomenon, the survey found that GenMobile workers are more likely than other workers to access mobile apps such as Facebook and Twitter, but they’re also more likely to access and respond to work emails on their mobile device. Consumer mobile devices are enabling this work-life lifestyle.

[Related: 5 Millennials-in-the-Workplace Myths Busted]

Moreover, GenMobile prefers to work from home two to three days a week. More than half of the respondents said they would prefer this flexibility over a 10-percent pay hike. Not only will the employer save money, they claim, but productivity would increase. Somewhat self-serving, nearly 80 percent of respondents said they feel most efficient when working at home.

Yahoo Has Something to Say to GenMobile: ‘No Way’

Recently, however, a few Silicon Valley companies are trying to reverse the tide of flexible working arrangements. Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer infamously led the charge by calling remote workers back to the office. Others, such as Hewlett-Packard and Visa, have made similar decrees. For more on this, check out Silicon Valley Tech Workers: Get Your Butt in Here!

[Related: What You Need to Know to Hire, Manage and Market to Millennials]

This trend flies in the face of the Aruba Networks survey results.

“There could be a variety of reasons why companies choose to put work-from-workplace policies in place,” says Manav Khurana, vice president of product and solutions marketing at Aruba Networks.

“That said, we know from personal experiences and from our survey that GenMobile prefers flexibility both in the workplace and in working hours. Flexibility is made possible with the right combination of remote working technology and culture.”

Call it a culture shift: The GenMobile work culture has come far from the 9-to-5 culture of yesteryear.

Tom Kaneshige covers Apple, BYOD and Consumerization of IT for Follow Tom on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn. Email Tom at