Workplaces are subject to natural evolution through not only a ‘top-down’, but also a ‘bottom-up’ approach determined by the expectations of their employees. As the composition of the current workforce changes, it is crucial for businesses to adjust to those requirements in order to remain competitive within the job market.

We are now on the edge of a cultural phenomenon, as the number of Gen Y employees is predicted to rise from 34% today, to 75% in 2025. This generational shift will require employers to adapt to the different needs of Gen Y, which stand in a stark contrast to the expectations of their Gen X and Baby Boomers predecessors. Today’s young workers expect space, freedom to make decisions and a creative workplace. Furthermore, a change in the perception of social media as an unwanted and counterproductive tool will be vital. “Social media is an integral part of a Gen Y’s life. By banning social media in the workplace, companies can risk losing Gen Y to competitors.” says Piera Palazzolo, senior vice president of marketing at Dale Carnegie Training.

Digital evolution continues to increase the expectation of a young workforce, who now also want to be allowed to use mobile apps which accompany much of their personal lives. Mobile device management (MDM) systems are already present in business environments, as are the policies crafted to ensure their correct trajectories. Yet many SMEs are still struggling with effective application. However, the IT and communications industry predicts that companies need to be prepared for more than the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement. Skype, Evernote or Dropbox, along with other consumer-orientated apps – have become a part of our culture, providing structure to modern daily routines and social contacts. Utilising this phenomenon could, contrary to common belief, increase productivity and effectiveness, improve consumer communication and ultimately employee contentment. In fact a recent US survey found that 37% of employees who currently use apps for work would be prepared to pay for them personally.

Nonetheless, since consumer-oriented apps are typically not adjusted for business environments, downloading diverse apps raises many issues around security. Many believe that a natural progression is BYOA, standing for ‘Build Your Own App’ instead of ‘Bring Your Own App’. Although the enterprise’s own app requires investment, it could prove more cost-effective than purchasing new server-based applications. Furthermore, it would be faster and easier to adjust to an ever-changing market. The intelligent design and use of a company’s own apps could allow them to be tailored to match their corporate needs and objectives, increase productivity and mitigate security risk.