A untethered workforce that relies on advance unified communication technology is coming fast, whether you like it or not, so if you haven’t been keeping up with the trends, and your business has yet to embrace mobility, now might be time to start playing catch-up. First off its important to remember that there is a BIG difference between a fad and a trend, workplace mobility is not a fad, in fact, this trend has been building momentum for years.
The first signs were probably around the end of 2010 early 2011 when Blackberry took email to our pockets and exploded with popularity. Then the trend shot upward again around 2014 when Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) hit the mainstream and traditional telecom companies started to lose billions of dollars. Today it continues to rise at an unprecedented rate with 90 percent of businesses in the U.S. offering or expanding to allow for remote working options and some experts even predicting that only 6% of the U.S. will still be using traditional landline networks by 2018.
Ok, but what does this mean for your business and why should you care?
Mobility can be seen as an entirely new approach to the way we do business and complete our work. Employees of the future are going to expect to be able to work from anywhere, any anytime using just their laptops and mobile phones. To achieve this without losing productivity the collaboration tools we use on these devices must be seamless, almost mimicking the office environment.
The toolkit of a modern workplace requires:
Unified communications – between emails, IMs, text messages, group chats, and virtual meetings, it’s really easy to lose the thread of who said what when, miss an important message, or spend countless hours trying to track down one specific email. Good team collaboration software pulls everything into one searchable location.
Calendar integration – no more manually inputting meetings, tasks, todos or deadlines, so there’s less confusion, less room for error or conflict, and fewer excuses.
Activity streams – keep tabs on who’s working on what, so that you know that no balls are being dropped.
Remote file access – cloud-based file storage makes working from home or on the road simple, with the ability to open a document anywhere, anytime.
File versioning control – the days of attachments flying back and forth and trying to remember who has the most recent iteration are over. A robust versioning feature cuts out all the questions. Often changes can even be made live in-document, with a reliable tracking “papertrail”.
Conferencing – solutions which provide conferencing tools go one step further towards integrating all project communication.
Screen sharing – whether used for training, presentations or customer service, the ability to jump into someone’s screen from wherever you happen to really streamline explanations, saving everyone time.
In practice this may mean using a collection of tools for example:
• Moving all storage to the cloud so important documents can be accessed anywhere anytime.( OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox etc.)
• Using instant messaging services that have project management features built in allowing for team communication and collaboration (Microsoft teams, Slack, Asana, Trello etc)
• Using video conferencing technology to meet with clients and employees (Skype for Business, Zoom, etc)
• Utilizing VoIP to take your desk landline with you wherever you go (3CX and Yealink mobile apps)
What happens when we utilize workplace mobility?
1. We increase motivation and productivity.
This change will have a massive positive impact on your overall business. Allowing flexibility in the workplace improves motivation because teams have the chance to work where-ever or how-ever is best for them. Whether this be allowing employees to work remotely and from home, or simply supplying them with the tools to access the information they need at a moment’s notice in their meetings with clients, or during periods of travel.
2. We improve employee responsiveness.
By enabling employees and teams to always stay in touch, no matter where they are we allow for a more connective and responsive enterprise. Mobility isn’t just a new way to work, its how we live: many of us are always on the go, and we rely on our smartphones to stay connected with family and friends. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to say the same for work.
3. We gain financially from mobility.
There are huge financial benefits to having more collaborative and productive teams. The simple fact is, when teams are able to stay in touch with each other, their clients, and the data and files they need, they get more done. With an ever-growing list of mobile-based enterprise apps and solutions, there isn’t any reason your employees should be forced to sit in front of their desk to respond to that latest email, edit the latest proposal, or add their insight into the latest draft of the presentation. Always connected, anywhere in the world mobility means we no longer have excuses, we can collaborate anywhere at any time to get the job done.
4. Attract top talent to your business.
Workplace mobility allows us to stay connected with colleagues and clients but it also allows us to balance out or personal life with our work life. Working remotely can be a great happy medium between asking for a day off, and having to come into the office. Employees will appreciate the flexibility that this provides, and will allow them to feel comfortable, allowing them to deliver better results.
Bottom line, mobility is the future.
While there are some security concerns when you move to a mobile workforce (something we will be writing quite a bit on in the future) Mobility is without a doubt the future of how we live, and how we work.
We need to start building up our mobile workforce tool kits. Do you have the right systems in place to ensure your business will succeed?