Today, more people around the world own a cell phone than a toothbrush. While the use of personal phones has been on the rise for some time, the rise of remote working is causing more people to use their personal devices to manage their work tasks rather than traditional computers.
According to an Ericsson report from 2021, the implementation of remote work in South Africa has increased by 66%, while a report by GlobalWebIndex³ highlights that since the arrival of Covid-19, the use of smartphones is approximately 45% above than normal levels. Interestingly, a study⁴ in the US found that millennials spend more time on their mobile devices per day (3.7 hours) than Gen Z (3 hours), which could be indicative that more young professionals use their mobile devices. mobile devices to complete work tasks while on the go.
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There is a need for connectivity on the go that is becoming an ingrained part of our new normal ‘workplace’. Take zoom meetings on your phone (while in your car!), Have instant access to your emails and Google calendar, handle work tasks via WhatsApp; Remote working is changing the way we use our mobile devices and will continue to do so in 2022 and beyond.
Having recently studied our user data over the past year, we have found that the majority of our users are young urban professionals and college students. According to our data, users between the ages of 18 and 34 rent external batteries to charge their phones outside the home or office up to 30 times a month, an average of once a day.
What this tells us is that people are demanding constant mobile connectivity now more than ever. With more companies choosing to have their employees work remotely, there is no reason for workers to be tied to a desk if they can still be productive while “out of the office.” If we take our data into account, the 18-34 age group cannot go more than a few hours without recharging a phone with a completely discharged battery.
The ‘always on’ culture is particularly popular with professional ‘freelancers’, and their mobile devices have become an indispensable tool for doing their jobs.
A Cape Town-based freelance writer and entertainment producer Estelle Terblanche says: “These days I rely on my mobile phone for most of my work tasks, especially when I’m running various errands at work. It’s very useful for when I don’t have my laptop with me, but I do have a moment to sit down and answer emails or follow up on job applications. ”
Students rely on smartphones to connect to classes
Students have also been exposed to their own form of remote work during the pandemic, as they were expected to stay connected through virtual conferences. While this has been a manageable task for some, for others it has been a bit more challenging, especially for students who do not have access to a 24-hour computer.
“I don’t always have access to a computer, so I need to use my mobile phone to connect to live conferences, as well as to receive my assignments on time. Finding free Wi-Fi hotspots and making sure I have enough power on the phone has been the only way I’ve been able to listen to many of my lectures, ”says Damelin’s third-year student Gugulethu Shumi.
Exciting times for mobile innovation
The functionality of smartphones today, while impressive and constantly evolving, still has a long way to go in terms of meeting users’ needs with battery power capacity. We will continue to demand even more from our phones, and it will be very exciting to see not only how our phone habits grow and change, but also how the mobile market adapts to changes in user behavior and adapts with innovative solutions. It is that thought that led to allowing our consumers to rent power banks for 48 hours, a solution that is on the go and available wherever you are.
Young people with digital skills are the fastest growing population in sub-Saharan Africa, and reports show that by 2025, the new normal in South Africa will see a greater reliance on online activities for daily tasks.
Kegan Peffer is CEO of Adoozy.