What are the main benefits of mobile working for businesses and their employees?
An increasing number of businesses are using online solutions - such as Office 365 - to facilitate mobile and remote working, ensuring employees can remain productive despite being away from the office. The advent of broadband and Ethernet solutions has opened up a world of opportunities to firms with the vision to look beyond their own premises.
Tech-savvy employees have the skills to work on a range of different technology devices - including laptops, media tablets and smartphones. Essentially all they need is access to files, documents and applications in the cloud and strong connectivity to the internet.
Analyst firm IDC believes the mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion by 2015, as more companies jump on the flexibility bandwagon. But why exactly are companies now embracing this model? Here are our top five benefits of mobile working:
1. Constant availability
Historically, whenever employees were called off-site - potentially for a meeting, or to travel to another office - they would find themselves largely cut off from work for a while. But with mobile technology now ubiquitous, they can access work files and documents from almost any location and keep in constant contact with the office. Employees can use mobile solutions to customise their working week more effectively - potentially working on evenings and weekends without the need to travel into the office.
2. Reduced commuting time
Employees who face a lengthy and costly commute into work each day quickly tire of the experience. The availability of mobile technology means they have the option of working from home or another remote location for some or all of the time. Home working can relieve some of the pressure for staff who live a long distance away, and this can have benefits in terms of morale and engagement.
3. Productive working
More businesses are allowing their employees to bring their own devices into work and use them on corporate networks. While this presents potential security challenges, it does increase the likelihood that employees will use mobile technology productively. Workers are likely to be much more effective using devices they know and understand, as opposed to those issued by the company. If they have a ready grasp of all the features of the tablet or smartphone, they are well-positioned to exploit them during the course of the working day.
4. Business continuity
Should a company face some form of disaster- such as a fire, flood, technology breakdown or theft - this can have severe implications unless an effective continuity plan is in place. Where key data and account information is only stored on PCs and servers - and these become inaccessible - the business has a major problem. But providing data had been backed up and can be accessed online, employees should be able to continue working - almost as if nothing has happened.
5. Improved customer service
Increasingly, customers expect a rapid response to enquiries, complaints and other communications. In the social media age, they have got used to entering into real-time dialogue with businesses, and this has raised the stakes somewhat. So long as employees have access to mobile solutions, they have the option of checking their emails and networking feeds at regular intervals. If a call comes in from a key client while an employee is away from the office, there is the option of using call forwarding functions to a mobile phone
Office 365 provides access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and various other Microsoft solutions in the cloud, giving mobile workers the opportunity to be as productive as possible.