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Employers change tune as work future shifts

The latest Cisco Connected World Technology Report has revealed that demands by Generation X and Millennial workers to increase flexibility in their work styles has been met by employees to accommodate their attitudes.

Workforce demands by Generation X and Millennial workers to increase flexible work styles have been met with employers shifting their policies to accommodate these changing attitudes, according to the 2014 Cisco Connected World Technology Report (CCWTR). Among other findings, the report also revealed that by the year 2020, the majority of Generation X and Y professionals believe that smartphones and wearable devices will be the workforce’s most important “connected” device – while the laptop remains the workplace device of choice.

Overall, the CCWTR report demonstrates the fundamental ways in which technology is shaping the future of work and how the devices, apps and solutions preferred by these generations are enabling new ways of working – including the rise of the “Supertasker” using four devices – and changes in the way workers and businesses view remote working (44 percent of Millennials feel most productive in the office), application use (six in 10 respondents prefer a pen and paper to the hottest note taking app) and global talent recruitment (50 percent of hiring managers would hire from only video interviews).

These findings also offer insights into the potential impact emerging smart devices, such as wearables, will have on IT and the creators of IT strategy, especially with the emergence of the Internet of Everything (IoE), which is creating new forms of connectivity and changing communications for the next generation of workers.


The annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report examines the relationship between human behavior, the Internet and networking’s pervasiveness. Examining this relationship unearths data about how companies will remain competitive amid the influence of technology lifestyle trends. The global report, based on surveys of professionals between the ages of 18 and 50 in 15 countries, provides insight into present-day challenges that companies face as they strive to balance current and future employee and business needs amid increasing mobility capabilities, security risks and technologies that can more ubiquitously deliver information.

Key Findings


Is the “Supertasker” the most desirable employee of the future?

‚Ä¢ HR professionals feel that Supertaskers increase the expectations of a “high performer” at their organization and as such, most feel Supertaskers are best suited for a managerial role, an individual contributor or an executive role.

‚Ä¢ About half of Gen X and Gen Y professionals believe Super tasking would make an individual more productive. Similarly, HR professionals (62 percent) predominantly believe Supertaskers increase their organization’s productivity.

• Nearly two thirds believe in the year 2020, Super tasking will be most coveted by their organization.

Gen X vs. Millennial workers

‚Ä¢ Gen Y (Millennial) professionals are more likely to indicate being “wired” differently than Gen X employees when it comes to efficiency and multitasking. More specifically, 56 percent of Gen Y professionals note that they are more efficient than Gen X employees.

• More than 4 in 10 professionals believe Gen Y employees are most effective at Super tasking, relative to other generations.

• 60 percent of Gen X professionals and 81 percent of HR professionals think that Gen Y employees are able to perform tasks faster than older employees using mobile devices and apps.

‚Ä¢ Further, 7 in 10 HR professionals think Gen Y employees are able to perform tasks faster if they are allowed to use their mobile devices and apps instead of desktop, laptop or notebook PC’s.

The Future of HR and Recruiting

• Nearly 6 in 10 (58 percent) HR professionals would be willing to hire a candidate by only interviewing the candidate using video conferencing (without ever conducting an interview in person).

o When asked of hiring managers in general though, slightly less (50 percent) believe hiring managers would be open to hiring someone without an in-person interview.

‚Ä¢ When it comes to hiring based on their organization’s culture, HR professionals are equally divided on whether having the best talent or finding the best fit for their culture is most important.

• Most HR professionals (40 percent) believe personal skills are most important to hiring managers when looking to fill entry-level positions.

• While one third of professionals indicate their job hunting approach will always remain local, nearly 1 in 5 indicate their approach is already national or worldwide, driven by those in Mexico, India and France.

Death of the 9-to-5 Workday – The Always-on Lifestyle

• More than half of professionals (Gen X and Gen Y) consider themselves accessible for work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including 3 in 10 who are accessible by both email and phone.

• Flexible working schedules on the rise: About one quarter of Gen X and Gen Y professionals indicate their organization allows them to work from home.

• Interestingly, Gen Y professionals who have the opportunity to work remotely are more likely to prefer working from the office, relative to their Gen X counterparts.

• Among those who are employed by organizations that allow them to work from home, more than 4 in 10 Gen Y professionals indicate they are most focused and productive when working in the office.

Three-hour lunch is the new norm: Gen X & Y prefer flexible work schedules, willing to work at odd hours in return

• Most Gen X professionals believe Gen Y employees would prefer a flexible work schedule, although Gen Y professionals tend to slightly prefer a traditional work schedule, at 54 percent.

• Roughly one quarter of professionals are employed at an organization that allows them to work from home. Among them, only 28 percent of Gen Y, 19 percent of Gen X and 6 percent of HR professionals prefer to work in the office.

• The largest proportion of Gen Y professionals (44 percent) indicate being more focused and productive when working in the office, while Gen X professionals (38 percent) cite being equally focused and productive both at home and in the office.

Adios to the Office

• Most professionals believe physical offices will still exist in 2020, though about 4 in 10 believe they will be much smaller

• Further, more than half of Gen X and Gen Y professionals believe their job will sometimes require them to be in the office depending on their schedule.


When is the work device no longer a device used primarily for work?

• Gen Y professionals are slightly less likely to use their smartphone for phone calls with about half (53 percent) using it for calls less than 25 percent of the time (vs. 43 percent Gen X and 36 percent HR).

BYOS (Bring Your Own Stuff) is the New BYOD

• BYOD is now pervasive: 4 in 10 HR professionals indicate all employees within their organization are allowed to connect any device to their network in order to do their jobs.

Or is it? Elsewhere, BYOD is still a privilege: More than 4 out of 10 claim only select individuals in their companies (executives, sales, IT) are allowed to connect to the device of their choice.

Stick ‘em up: Your wallet or your smartphone?

• 54 percent of Gen Y and 38 percent of Gen X professionals first look at their smartphone when waking up. Additionally, roughly 1 in 5 from both groups would be most concerned about their smartphone, if robbed.

Reports of the “Death of the Laptop” have been highly exaggerated

• If forced to choose one device, the largest proportion (about 40 percent) would select a laptop for both work and personal use.

Is the Website done?

• Only one quarter of Gen X and Gen Y professionals believe websites will always be prominent in our lives. Interestingly, 21 percent think websites will be replaced by apps, though they do not anticipate it to happen within the next five years.

• Among HR professionals though, slightly less (17 percent) believe websites will always be prominent.

• On multiple occasions throughout the week, roughly one quarter indicate relying only on apps for an entire day.

• Facebook is the leading choice for sole social media application for smartphones.

Wearable Devices will be more important than Smartphones

‚Ä¢ In the year 2020, the largest proportion of respondents believe a worker’s most important connected device will be a smartphone. Slightly more Gen X professionals believe a connected wearable device will be most important, compared to Gen Y professionals.

Privacy? What privacy?

• In exchange for a free smartphone with unlimited data service, more than 4 in 10 would allow their carrier/service provider access to all of the data and information stored within the phone.

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