Bring Your Own Device

Goodbye BYOD? Gen Z favour PCs, email over tablets and social media

The next generation of workers say they are happier using work PCs and email at work than tablets and social networks.

As the so-called 'Generation Z' of 16 to 24 year olds enter the workforce, they will cause chaos by using their own smartphones and tablets at work and snubbing email in favour of instant messaging and social networks - or so the theory goes.

As a result, CIOs are putting in place bring your own device policies to make sure their IT department isn't overwhelmed by these multitaskers. But it could be a waste of time: tomorrow’s workforce are a more conservative bunch than widely believed, favouring email over social networks and work PCs over their iPhones, according to research.

The study, which questioned 1,000 16-24 year olds from across the UK and 200 IT decision makers, found that 'Gen Z' are far less enthusiastic about using personal devices in the workplace than CIOs.

Just under half of the young people questioned believed that personal devices make them more productive at work, compared to almost 70 per cent of IT decision makers. The majority use a PC or laptop at work, with fewer than 10 per cent using a tablet.

And despite growing up in an age of social networks, just 17 per cent of Gen Z said they wanted to use social media to talk to colleagues at work, favouring either face to face chats or email instead.

Barry Hoffman, HR director at Computacenter, the IT supplier which carried out the research, said: “The idea of this always connected, socially mobile and technologically demanding generation entering the workplace is something of a myth.”

Outside of work social networking remains young people's preferred way of talking to their friends, with Hoffman adding that the way Gen Z behave outside of work is distinct from inside the office: ”There is not this blurring of between work and personal life that people think”.

He added that CIOs should not assume that they need to support a bring your own device (BYOD) policy and allow the open use of social media if they want to attract generation Z into their workforce.

”There is a disconnect between what the corporate world are saying this generation wants and what they say they want themselves.”

In reality the employees demanding to be able to use their own devices at work are more likely to be the CIOs and senior management, than young people.

”It’s more driven by those senior people who get very excited by some of the gadgets in their personal life and this is how they enter the corporate world,” Hoffman said.

About

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

9 comments
AudeKhatru
AudeKhatru

"???It???s more driven by those senior people who get very excited by some of the gadgets in their personal life and this is how they enter the corporate world,??? Hoffman said." BYOD is being driven by execs who want their Apple gear because its trendy, but IT isn't listening, because IT wants conformity of hardware. IT doesn't want to support many platforms. They don't want Blackberry and iPhone/iPad and Android. When IT was in charge, everyone got Blackberrys. Now, with BB falling out of fashion, and I mean exactly that, fashion, the top brass want the gear they like, which isn't a PC they don't need. People who work for a living need PCs. All those Gen Z people are entering the workforce at the work-for-a-living level, not at the upper management (do nothing) level. One level controls the $$, and one level does the work. PCs aren't failing at work, they are failing at home, where the tablet excels. Post-PC world my @$$.

dominicsabol
dominicsabol

I'm GenX, I think the fact that my generation grew up alongside the evolution of consumer usable technology is the reason why BYOD is popular amoung older generations. After seeing how everyone you work with want's to be a facebook friend gets annoying. What if you leave your job, do you really want people in your work life knowing what your personal life consists of where is your privacy? The bluring boundry of private and public seems to be an overwelming force. I personally like to keep my private life and public life seperate. The trouble today is that there is so many ways to communicate and there is no real social standard of where the boundries are, causing the next generation (z) to want a private life seperate from work, and I don't blame them.

bhessel
bhessel

My take on this is slightly different, I feel it relates to job function. I agree entry level and mid-management professionals will require a full PC due to the type of work they are tasked to create or manage. Smart phones, tablets, etc are not conducive to developing large amounts of code, working with spreadsheets, creating documentation, designing products, systems or advertising material, managing projects, etc. Gen X / Y users are the ones to keep the BYOD trend alive in my opinion. Tablets and smartphones are excellent for the typical responsibilities of a more experienced employee. Managing schedules, communication, coordination, review, etc.

adornoe
adornoe

that, BYOD with tablets and smartphones was the way of the future. Those CIOs thought that the experts knew what they were talking about, and so, those CIOs went along with what they thought was the way of the future, because, they believed that the experts knew what the young and "talented" workforce wanted to do with the new tech toys. So, who are the experts? The experts are those people in the tech blogging world, who believe they know better than the real world how things will be or should be. So, those experts go about telling the world that, BYOD is the wave of the future and that, PCs are yesterday's ways and, if you don't go along with BYOD, then you're going to be left outdated and outflanked by the competition. The problem is with the CIOs who just go along with the experts and don't do their own analysis. The experts are a problem because, they know they're being listened to, by those in the corporate towers, and those in the lower ranking IT departments. The experts need to be put in their place, because, they're misleading the CIOs into doing stupid things. Heck, those "expert" bloggers are even claiming that, we're in a "post-PC" world, which reality would be indicating that, they're very far from the truth. But, since those experts are saying it and writing it, and the CIOs and a lot of other people are reading and hearing what the experts have to say, the experts become empowered into believing that they can get away with just about anything.

OurITLady
OurITLady

I see our younger workers wondering around the office with their smartphones glued to their side constantly beeping with the new message chime, I see reasonable numbers of all workers bookmark facebook on their company laptops, instant messaging around the office is rife (and not just the official internal system) and one of the most regular questions from all age groups in the area is when are we going to support BYOD especially for iPads (we're in proof of concept but not approved for all yet). Several of the younger workers already use their personal devices for work, even though they can't official have any company data on there, I've been told they'd be quite happy continuing with their own equipment if they could connect to the corporate network with it. I'm not saying that there won't be those who do prefer face-to-face conversation or email, but my experience is that 17% would be an extremely low percentage and that I'd like to see exactly how the survey was phrased or what they were including as social media (I'd believe they wouldn't want work colleagues necessarily to have access to their facebook page for example, but were they including instant messaging as social media, was IM classed with email or was there a separate category for IM as that seems to be the communication tool of choice here about the younger workers?)

BoyDKR
BoyDKR

Big corporation are slow in adopting changes. Utimately, I believe we will see a combinaison of company owned assests and BYOD. In the US, when big Banks figure out how to define regulations and law that protect them and their customers, the adoption of BYOD will be rushed. Currently small companies will most likely adopt the new trend.

Z-eu
Z-eu

When I worked for one of the largest banks in the world, they toyed with ipads, they tried to put forward innovative business reasons, but at the end of the day, it was the rich boys at the top who just wanted something they didn't know anything about for free, because it was fashion. I work for another global company (considerbly smaller) and they are now doing similar things. Ironically we missed out on a annual company target by less than ??1million, because we wasted so much on ipads, iphones, new high spec laptops for people that browse the web and write the odd letter. Quad core processors are coming into phones, this is enough for most people to do their jobs. A cradle for the monitor, input and network and then stick the phone in job's done. but we just arn't there yet because no one has shown it works on a large scale.

cbstryker
cbstryker

My take away from this article: "just 17 per cent of gen Z said they wanted to use social media to talk to colleagues at work, favouring either face to face chats or email instead." There's hope for humanity yet.

bboyd
bboyd

Gen Z still needs to be productive, generating content, and entering data with the computers they use. A larger screen, a keyboard and full suite of utilities. There is a reason why computers inherited the Qwerty keyboards of type writers. They are fast. They are easy and even hunt and peck style typists will beat out a screen tapper. I use a touch screen laptop and have for seven years now. At best it replaces the touch pad on my computer. The keyboard is still how I do the bulk of my job. Please don't misconstrue practicality for resistance to change. All that said, Tablets and smartphones are great informational and communication tools, support them! I'd give every tech and operator a good tablet for technical documents. The silly paging system in my facility is what BYOD phones need to be replaced by. That is just the start of the list.

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