As our Digital Transformation research revealed, customer expectations have never been higher. In an always-connected world, consumers want businesses to be available around the clock, meaning a 9-5 approach just won’t cut it any more. Fortunately, employees feel the same way. Flexible and mobile working is becoming not just a perk, but a standard expectation.
But what is mobile working – and how can you create a mobile workforce For smaller businesses, this is fairly easy to implement – but if your organisation is a little larger, analysing the impact of mobile technology and adopting a more strategic view is needed to successfully make the change.
- Moving beyond the 9-5
The first step to creating a mobile workforce is thinking carefully about the hours your employees are working. Wanting your team to be mobile while expecting them to sit at a desk from 8.30 in the morning doesn’t make much sense – if you take this approach, you may as well stick to traditional desk-based communications. So, carefully consider what your new working hours policy could look like – whether that’s ‘anytime working’, or core desk hours with flexibility either side.
There are other business benefits to doing this, too. Implementing flexible working hours is a great motivator for employees, offering the work-life balance millennials crave. And from your organisation’s perspective, it builds trust and positive feeling among a team, meaning staff will be more amenable to working the unusual hours often required by connected global businesses.
- Get out of the office
If your organisation is trying to create a mobile workforce it’s time to move away from prioritising the physical office mentality. This doesn’t mean doing away with desks and landlines; a physical office fosters collaboration, great relationships, and productivity. But to create a mobile workforce, it’s important to give staff the tools and the opportunity to work remotely when necessary.
This could mean staff working from home, on the road, or even at a coffee shop. However, this isn’t just a means of benefitting employees – this approach will also boost productivity, particularly among staff whose roles require them to travel.
- Consider the cloud
Concerned about the logistics of all of this remote working? It’s an understandable concern, but there are plenty of great solutions which will empower your staff to head outside of the office. For example, a cloud-hosted communications service can offer fixed and mobile telephony solutions, without the need for physical infrastructure – ideal if you’re moving away from rigid office-based working.
A hosted phone system, can offer multi-site deployment which is perfect for homeworkers or staff on the move. This lays the foundation for working outside of standard hours and set locations.
- Devise a device strategy
And this leads to the fourth step: giving your newly mobile workforce, mobile devices. This seems simple enough, but it’s not just a case of asking your team to bring their smartphones to work with them. A BYOD approach can raise significant security and reliability concerns, so if you’re serious about creating your mobile workplace, you should invest in the right devices.
Of course, a top-spec device means nothing without a solid mobile network to support it. That’s why you need to look for a 4G network that is built for business-only usage, meaning there’s no consumer traffic clogging up the network during business hours – so your mobile workforce can stay connected.
- Integrate your platforms
No man is an island – and the mobile devices in your business shouldn’t be, either. The final step is to integrate your tech so communication platforms can work seamlessly with each other. Because creating a mobile workforce doesn’t mean doing away with physical desks, fixed phones and office hours altogether. After all, fixed phones have traditionally boasted plenty of business-essential features, like call recording, business directories and conferencing.
Instead, it means giving staff the freedom to work at the time and place that suits them (and the business) best. This means your mobile devices need to integrate with other platforms – like computers and desk phones – instead of working individually. An integrated system can help you to achieve this balance, gives your organisation access to the features they need, regardless of the device being used.
Get ready to reap the benefits of a mobile workforce
It’s not an instant switch, but creating a mobile workforce with our five-step plan is definitely a worthy process. Because whether you’re seeking reduced costs, improved productivity or increased staff engagement, a mobile workforce can offer all of these and more – it’s simply a matter of putting the right attitudes and platforms in place.