Bridgeway Insights

Are you suffering from Gen M guilt?

Are you suffering from Gen M guilt?

Posted by Louisa Mackintosh 12 May 2015

A survey by Bridgeway partner MobileIron has revealed that 58% of mobile workers feel guilty about mixing their work and personal lives. The study, which surveyed more than 3,500 professionals across six different countries who use a mobile device for work, highlights the growing trend of ‘Generation Mobile’ or ‘Gen M’ – mobile workers who are aged 18-34 or people with children under 18.

The survey found that on average, Gen M workers do 26% of their work on smartphones or tablets, compared to 17% of non-Gen M employees. They are more likely to use their mobile devices for so-called ‘shadow tasking’ – doing personal tasks during work hours and work tasks during personal hours. The results of the study also suggest that wearable technology could play an increasingly prominent role in the enterprise, with 42% of Gen M either owning or planning to buy a wearable device.

Despite more and more workers mixing their work and personal lives on mobile devices, it appears that many of them feel guilty about the practice. 61% of Gen M said they experienced ‘mobile guilt’ when receiving work communications during personal hours, while a surprising 58% feel the same when receiving personal communications at work. In comparison, less than half of non-Gen M workers experience this guilt.

Mobile is a fundamental feature of modern business and for many workers, it’s simply impossible to completely separate work and personal lives. 60% of Gen M respondents said they would leave their job if their employer did not facilitate remote working or restricted personal activities at work. 

How can companies respond to this? By accepting this trend and that we need to accommodate and support mobile workers, without making them feel guilty or invading their personal lives. Establishing BYOD policies that give employees clear boundaries and guidance around what they are expected to use mobile devices for, and how those devices should be managed leads to more transparency, ease of use and greater productivity.

Organisations must also ensure that business and personal data are separated and protected using enterprise mobile management solutions such as MobileIron, which will help to make employees feel safer and less conflicted when it comes to mixing work and personal life on their mobiles.  After all, mobility should be about productivity – which means helping employees to get easy access to the resources they need, when they need them, without feeling pressurised.  

This all confirms what we at Bridgeway have been talking about for a while now; that mobility projects need to be considered in a holistic manner: it's more than product, it's also about processes, policies and people.