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In nearly every industry, the gray cubicle is a thing of the past as people are now able to connect at any time, from anywhere. As the world becomes increasingly mobile, so does the future of work—we can check email and host meetings on a phone, tablet or laptop, and this can happen at a desk, in a coffee shop or even mid-air on a plane.

The sheer number of mobile devices and the frequency of mobile device use speaks to the importance of having a mobile strategy for sourcing, hiring, on-boarding and retaining talent. Statista states that by the end of this year, the number of smartphone users in the United States is estimated to reach 207.2 million—worldwide, the number is expected to exceed 2 billion users. According to Deloitte's Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 97 percent of adults aged 18 to 24 check their mobile phones within three hours of waking up and view them overall an average of 74 times per day—74! The same research reveals that 50 percent of users of all ages check their phones about 15 minutes before going to sleep.

Still doubtful of going mobile—or trying to quell doubts from your executive team? Read on for why and how to embrace the mobile workforce of the future.

The Why: Engage Employees at Every Point

Before you invest in mobile, it's important to grasp the purpose and vision of your mobile program. At the end of the day, workplace mobility empowers your employees to work smarter, better and faster, and thus be more productive. A new global study from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has established a measurable link between more mobile-first working environments and an increase in employee engagement, proving that CIOs can drive increased business performance through a well-developed and executed mobile strategy.

The study showed that companies rated by employees as “pioneers" in how they support mobile technology saw a rise in productivity (16 percent), creativity (18 percent), satisfaction (23 percent) and loyalty (21 percent) when compared to organizations that were poorly rated at supporting mobile technology. These findings demonstrate that many workers recognize the benefits of mobile-optimized work environments. In fact, six in 10 employees said mobile technology makes them more productive, while more than four in 10 believe it causes their creativity to rise.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the EIU study also found that a respondent's age was not a factor in how mobile technology impacts employee engagement and performance. In fact, it dispels the popular notion that mobile working is the domain of the younger generation, making it even more critical for organizations to place mobile technology as a top priority.

The How: Mobile-First, Not Just Mobile Friendly

So how do you make mobile a priority in your organization? Strategize. Infuse mobile into everything from start to finish. Make paperwork and documents accessible on any device. Send simple communications via text. Send welcome and training videos that can be viewed whenever, wherever. Think about how to mobile-optimize everything you need employees to do.

According to Bryan Bassett, research analyst of Mobile Enterprise Device Solutions at IDC, “Mobility has become synonymous with productivity both inside and outside the workplace, and the mass adoption of mobile technology in the United States has cultivated an environment where workers expect to leverage mobile technology at work."

You can adopt as many apps and platforms as you desire, but the key to employee adoption is a cohesive strategy that brings all of the mobile resources under one roof. As you formulate your enterprise mobility strategy, it's easy to focus on practical concerns—such as security and application management—but to get the most out your initiatives, it's important to consider how to provide your employees with the tools they need to succeed.

Remember, mobility not only supports maximum productivity for your team by letting them access resources wherever their jobs take them, but it's also convenient and considered a cornerstone of a modern workforce—which is attractive to employees.

Mobility isn't a fad or a trend or a buzzword. It's the way our world of work actually works. Take the time to research and implement a mobile strategy that will positively impact your organization. You won't regret it.

Photo: Creative Commons