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The class of 2017 doesn't want plugs to tie it down

Graduation season is here and that means another bright-eyed graduating class will be diving head-first into the workforce. Even before the valedictorians have dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s on their speeches, the class of 2017 is researching future workplaces. Being the first generation to grow up never knowing a time without the internet or cell phones, their future workplaces will not restrict their connectivity.

Most recent grads are looking for a mobile workplace, so organizations that want to recruit the best and brightest must ensure they are delivering a modern digital experience. With nearly all of work now conducted digitally and more devices than ever connecting to the internet of things, employees are using a multitude of devices, including laptops, mobile devices and wearables, to conduct work on a daily basis — all of which can be used both in the workplace to allow employees to work anywhere at any time. But with these devices come chargers, requiring employees to carry multiple cords around with them, whether they are moving from meeting room to meeting room or working outside the office, and limiting their mobility by tethering them to walls or charging ports and often causing “low-battery anxiety,” a nervousness that devices will run out of power when they are most needed.

According to a recent survey conducted by the AirFuel Alliance, 63% of 18-24 year old respondents worry about their batteries dying at least once a day, with nearly 85% of them turning to alternative charging methods like charging mats, portable chargers and car chargers to power up on the go. So it is no surprise that the incoming workforce would like to see employers implement wireless charging capabilities in their offices. This goes beyond the class of 2017 — the survey results showed that a wireless power solution is in high demand among respondents of all ages. In fact, 70% of 25-34 year old survey respondents expressed the same battery worries as the 18-24 year olds and also leverage some type of alternative charging method.

Nearly all respondents want wireless charging in their next device and anticipate this capability to be adopted in work and public places within the next three years, so employers looking to hire top new talent or retain current employees will need to make this a reality. The widespread adoption of wireless charging technologies would improve the workplace by delivering true mobility, allowing employees to be able to work from home, from their desk, in a conference room at the office or on the road to a business conference without worrying if they will have a plug available to them. Not only does this streamline office aesthetics, but it can also lead to a more productive workforce. For employers, though, is it possible to make offices completely wireless in the near future?

The answer is yes. Wireless charging technology is already available and is evolving to work on a grander scale — charging anything from laptops dropped on a conference table to electric and autonomous vehicles parked on city streets, in driveways and more. Companies like Dell have already started ensuring its devices are compatible with wireless charging technology — in fact, the first wirelessly powered device will be available for sale by Dell this spring, paving the way for companies to be able to purchase and provide this technology to employees and deliver a fully wireless and more efficient workplace.

As workplaces continue to become more connected, employees will expect increased mobility both inside and outside office doors. This workplace of the future will not be possible, however, if tethered by wires. Teamwork and mobility will become simpler and allow for greater productivity when wires and plugs are no longer a factor and employees will be able to work from anywhere, transitioning seamlessly from working on their laptops at their desks, to their mobile phones from the train, to their tablets from their couches — never worried they will run out of battery.

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