The workplace is changing. Mobile working -- in particular, telecommuting -- has increased exponentially over the last few years. However, while the number of mobile and remote workers is on the rise, they still make up less than 3% of the American workforce. As a recent IDC report forecasts, if that number is to increase to 72% of the workforce by 2020, employers still have a lot of work to do to get their teams ready.
For a business owner or manager, the idea of a mobile-enabled workforce is great. But it’s important to get buy-in from the whole team. You have to have a purpose for going mobile, and you need to ensure that purpose is communicated. You need to clearly define the business reasons for going mobile, and ensure that you have a solid strategy and policies in place for managing expectations and enabling employees to be effective and productive when working out of the office. Doing so will help your team understand and embrace the many advantages mobile working provides – for them and your business.
Ready, set, go mobile!
Here are five ways to quick start your mobility plans and get your team moving.
1. Put a mobile policy in place.
The first thing you need to do is put a mobile policy in place so your team knows exactly what is expected of them if they’re working remotely, including defined goals and outcomes from their work. Involve key business unit leaders and the IT department in this process, as they will be managing your mobile employees and the devices they use. A great quote we saw was that you should “manage results, not style.” Key to the successful implementation of any mobile policy – and one of the biggest advantages for employees – is giving them the freedom to manage their own time. If someone is working from home but takes an hour to get their kids from school, as long as they hit their KPIs, no harm, no foul.
2. Support the mobile team.
For your mobile strategy to be truly effective, you need to fully support it as an organization. That means more than enabling employees to “BYOD” or providing them with company smartphones. They need mobile access to the same systems you use in your office, including your CRM and other databases, HR portal and the same phone features someone sitting at a desk has.
3. Out of sight, but not out of mind.
Going mobile is no different than any other strategy you implement; it needs regular review. Are the mobile devices and apps remote workers are using really working for them – and the business? You need to look at productivity and see if there are any blockages or issues arising from this new way of working, and to make sure your mobile team has the right tools and technology they need to remain remote and productive.
4. Don’t forget to lock the door.
Security and compliance are two major business concerns when thinking about making your team mobile. Service interruptions, data loss, threats to customer privacy, or intellectual property can be easily compromised if someone loses their smartphone, tablet or laptop. We recommend undertaking a full risk assessment before going mobile. Your business units should collaborate with the IT department to develop security best practices for mobile workers to reduce risk and potential legal issues.
5. Make sure you’re mobile.
If you don’t commit to going mobile, then your team won’t either. If you expect your team to be mobile, as the owner or manager, you have to be, too. You can’t expect them to be available to speak to clients at 7am over their cornflakes if you’re not willing to take a call from them at 7:05 to debrief.
Your business should go mobile for one reason – to make it easier for your customers to connect with you and vice versa. The real value of the mobile workplace comes from removing boundaries to communication and enhancing your business workflows. If you follow the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to having a team that fully embraces the new mobile workplace, is more productive and is more responsive when client issues arise. And – bonus! -- according to a recent VMWare report on the state of business mobility, as a result of investments in mobility.
So, ready to go mobile? Take a look at our Vertical ViewPoint Mobile application to see the true potential and power of mobility and how it can transform your workforce.