As the demands placed on 21st century businesses continue to increase, more employers are recognising the potential benefits of allowing their employees to work off-site. Businesses have gained access to more sophisticated mobile solutions in recent years - for instance, high-powered smartphones and media tablets - and connectivity solutions have also improved rapidly. This means that, for the first time, location presents no barrier to productive work and effective employee collaboration.
The increased mobility of workers can be seen to have a number of benefits, both in terms of driving revenue for organisations, and appeasing individual workers. And this is why the number of professionals working away from the office is rising all the time. IT analyst IDC expects the number of mobile workers to reach 1.3 billion worldwide by 2015, showing this will be a long-term trend rather than a short-term fad.
According to research conducted by Good Technology, 93 per cent of employees now work away from the office for at least some of the time. They may do so on the move, from public buildings, or even at home. But what exactly are the benefits of facilitating work on the move? And how can your organisation benefit from mobility solutions?
More productive work
Access to the latest generation of mobile devices means faster data transfers, more reliable network coverage and greater handset functionality, thanks to innovations such as Office 365 and Windows 8. Smartphone and tablet users working on the latest operating system can access a host of software programs in the cloud, and use apps to work effectively from any location.
Even when employees are on the train, bus or in a taxi, or perhaps in a hotel room or waiting for a meeting to start, they can be working on files and documents, responding to emails or communicating with their colleagues. There is no 'dead' time as such - so long as professionals have access to a connected device, they can be doing something productive with their time, at any point in the day.
Reduced capital costs
Providing businesses have taken the necessary network level security precautions, they can benefit from bring your own device (BYOD) schemes. Given the wide proliferation of consumer technology, it can make sense to allow employees to use their own smartphones and tablets for work purposes. Firstly, they know exactly how they function, and how to work effectively on them. Secondly, employees are likely to be carrying their own devices anyway, meaning there is no duplication. And thirdly, businesses do not have to meet the capital costs, since employees buy their own devices.
Equipping employees with mobile solutions - or allowing them to use their own devices under a BYOD policy - means they are more likely to be available should an important client get in touch unexpectedly. Responding to emails and calls immediately is important, and becoming more so as consumers get used to real-time communication with brands via social media. Increasingly, employees need to be at the beck and call of their customers, ready to respond to their latest enquiry or request at whatever time of the day. Failure to do so may push customers into the hands of one of your business rivals.
Increased employee morale
Employees who are equipped with mobile technology are able to work in the early morning, late at night or on the weekend. As such, there is less pressure on them to stick to a rigid nine to five shift pattern. Mobility gives employees greater opportunity to shape their working day, helping them to achieve a greater work-life balance. This can potentially increase morale and levels of motivation, helping to ensure employee performance levels are maximised. Allowing staff members to work from home, or change their shift patterns, could well help keep hold of valued employees for longer.
Should there be some form of disaster at your main business premises - for instance, a fire, flood, technology breakdown or a theft - the use of mobile solutions can help keep things running. Even if your office PCs are out of action, or nobody can get on-site, employees can carry on with their normal daily tasks via a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Customers may not even notice there has been a problem, as services are unaffected.
Find out more about how mobility solutions can add value to your organisation.
Posted by Alex Boardman