Mobile working: the revolution that can't be held back
Is your business mobile? Undoubtedly the answer to that is a very firm yes, whether you're a one man or woman band with a single mobile phone or a multi-national company with thousands of employees linked by a myriad of mobile devices.
But are you really making the most of advances in mobile technology to allow your employees to work on the go?
The answer to that might be a little hazier and, even if you consider your business to be a mobile adopter, there are probably a host of ways in which you could improve your employees' relationship with mobile communications.
We call it the mobile multiplier, and there are clear trends that have been identified within this, such as the shoulder bag worker, collaboration on the go, addressing security uncertainty, and your organisational culture as the enabler.
Simply put, it's the theory that the more employees have a good experience of working on the go, the more benefits you as a business will see.
In fact, office workers can deliver a step-change in their effectiveness if they have better apps, data and security for mobile working.
This isn't just theory, rather the findings of an independent survey of office workers carried out across the UK, France, Germany and Spain.
The findings offer a fascinating insight into a working world which would have been unimaginable only a few short years ago.
Certainly the fact that two thirds of office workers now consider being given the flexibility and technology to work from the office, at home or while travelling - the shoulder bag worker, is more important in a job than being offered a company car would have surprised even the most forward-thinking bosses 10 years ago.
Even now it raises an eyebrow and should have leaders thinking about whether their mobile strategy is enough to attract the best talent.
Not only that, but is it enough to keep your business running efficiently?
Two thirds of those surveyed said their mobile communications could be improved to allow them to share information and data with colleagues to help speed up decision making. The need for genuine collaboration on the go is clear, and this means much more than just the provision of mobile phones.
That means companies should be thinking about how they can use collaboration tools more effectively, whether it be screen sharing or instant messaging.
This chimes with the fact two-thirds of office workers want their IT department to invest more in their mobile devices, more than they want increased investment in their office equipment.
They also want access to work processes and databases remotely and a resilient network.
Have you asked your workers if they could be more productive if they had more access on the go?
And have you reviewed what processes your IT department has put in place to safeguard devices and information in the event of a theft?
According to the research, not many workers have sight of that particular process, nor indeed do many IT departments.
Dealing with any uncertainty in relation to securing your information on whatever mobile devices you use is key, though it does not have to be an onerous task. Maybe it's time to review your security protocols for mobile devices to ensure workers get the most from mobile working.
And then of course there's cost.
Three quarters of workers said their employer tries to limit the cost of using smartphones and tablets, a fact which obviously makes them reticent to use their devices fully.
If that's the case, then it's time to review how you can keep a cap on expenditure but allow your workers enough data to do their job on the go and to the best of their ability.
We are in the throes of the mobile working revolution that can't be held back.
It's up to you, as a company, to provide the mobile tools to let your workers fulfil their ability, and a small change in your organisation's culture can deliver this huge benefit.
Then, and only then, the mobile multiplier will work its magic.
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