Are Cloud Collar Workers the Future of Work?

Information workers are taking over business everywhere. With over 600 million people who specialize in knowledge, not production, the brain trust is spreading from traditional CIOs down to Millennials just entering the workplace. All thanks to cloud technology, from mobile apps to virtualized data centers.

With the rise of the new Cloud Collar Worker, are we seeing a preview into the future of work?

Rolling up their sleeves — digitally.

According to Forrester Research, the emerging “Information Worker” labor force is expected to grow to over 865 million workers by 2016. Who are these new workers? You might just be one of them. Engineers, executives, marketing, consultants, website administrators and even bank managers are all employees that specialize in information — typically, digital information.

Instead of rolling up their sleeves and heading to the factory lines to actually produce a physical product, information workers roll up their virtual sleeves and get to work on a computer. Or, more prevalent today, these workers utilize a cloud-connected device, like laptop, smartphone, tablet or thin client device.

Wondering what the “cloud” is? Get your answers in this free eBook.

There’s always an app for that — or will be soon.

Ten years ago, the personal computer revolutionized business. With email, digital databases and software, we’ve completely changed the way the world does business. The newest technological advances now enable us to connect from anywhere, thanks to the most convenient business tech every created: the cloud. And the cloud’s favorite delivery method — the “app” — is largely responsible for the projected growth of the Information workers or, as we jokingly refer to them, Cloud Collar Workers.

By enabling users to access business applications on any device (Blackberry, laptop, work and personal computers, smartphones, tablets or thin clients), businesses unlock the power of mobile: anytime, anywhere, any device. The enterprise mobile cloud computing market is projected to reach $11.03 billion globally by 2018, primarily because of the growing importance of workforce mobility and cloud-based application delivery. Why? Because if there isn’t an app to help you do your job better — and digitally — there will be soon.

Millennials say, Millennials do.

The consumerization of IT (aka Bring Your Own Device or Application) found its perfect host in Millennials. Like a parasite wreaking havoc on IT departments everywhere, BYOD is the movement that is blurring the lines between consumer and workplace-class technology. Millennials are leading the charge toward the future of work.

95% of Millennials own a mobile phone; 82% access the Internet wirelessly. This age-group driven trend is vital for businesses because 76% of Millennials believe technology aids in career success and, according to Psychology Today, a projected 76 million of them are entering the workforce. These not-so-youngsters grew up with technology and the old-school IT delivery-mechanism (“You get what you get, so don’t throw a fit”) isn’t acceptable to this tech-forward generation. Thus the new Cloud Collar Worker chooses IT on personal preference —not the establishment — and applications are the primary method for delivering a consistent business product regardless of access device or location.

Are you a Cloud Collar Worker? Have you experienced the BYOD Millennial effect in your business? Do you believe that the cloud is the future of work? We’d love to hear your experiences with Information Workers in your company.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Karin Dalziel.

About Blakely T.

Blakely is a work-life juggler with three little monsters, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book-a-holic, Atlanta transplant and PR/social/content strategist (and presentations nerd) for PGi.

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