This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The world is an incredibly diverse office – for those who can take advantage of it. With the right tools, bandwidth, and transportation, people today can literally work anywhere.
Look around the next time you run out for a coffee, stop by a café for lunch, or walk through a park during the workweek. I see it all the time—people plugging away on their laptops, busy with schoolwork, balancing their bank accounts, or simply putting in time for their day jobs. The days of traditional office hours confining workers to cramped offices and cubicles are over.
However, you might still be in the camp of employees who dream of the day you can truly work from anywhere. Maybe your company hasn’t invested in the right applications and tools to make remote work possible. Maybe you live in one of the few areas where high speed internet still doesn’t exist, or reliable connections remain an issue. Mobility is the key to making remote work possible, productive, and lucrative, and some businesses are still struggling to catch on.
Understand the Reality and Perception of Remote Work
I can tick off several benefits of working remotely right now: Flexible scheduling, time to knock off the odd chore around the house, zero commute cost savings, and a healthier environment and (hopefully) habits.
However, as glorious as remote work sounds, issues still remain. Security considerations have to come into play, especially when using public Wi-Fi. Are the devices remote workers are using reliable? Can they connect seamlessly with your in-house communications platforms? And what happens if real IT problems arise and half your staff live a thousand miles away?
When companies don’t invest in the foundational tools needed to allow remote workers to do their best, those workers may spend more time troubleshooting than focusing on that work-life balance that benefits businesses and their workforces.
Investing in Mobility
Bridging the gap between remote work perceptions and reality lies in company and personal investments in mobile technology. We’re not waiting for the technology to catch up to our desire for flexibility. The technology is already here and has proven itself effective in companies willing to take the mobile leap by change some fundamental ideas about the way the business world works.
With the right approach to mobile technology, companies can offer competitive benefits that appeal to top talent, innovate for better customer satisfaction, and eliminate unnecessary overhead. Here’s what companies need to invest in, if they’re considering adopting true mobility and optimizing their remote workforce:
- IT personnel. Whether a company prefers to outsource an IT department or hire in-house, your business needs people with exceptional communication skills who are familiar with new technology and willing to drive mobile adoption. These specialists will help your mobile employees stay productive, whether they’re five miles down the road or halfway across the world.
- An evolving mobile policy. Instead of creating a mobile or remote work policy after implementation, start drafting one the moment your company adopts any mobile technology. Include security information and direction, expectations for employees, as well as guidance for troubleshooting and/or new learning solutions. A comprehensive, up-to-date policy will serve as a guide for learning, as well as a launch pad for easily implementing new solutions.
- Your employees can tackle almost any project remotely with the right collaboration tools. This includes fast, secure, and optimized devices, one-off applications, and platforms that facilitate workflows, brainstorming, editing, chat, webinars, and any other type of collaboration your team needs to succeed. Spend some time finding solutions that make sense now and have the potential to scale with your company as mobile becomes the norm.
- Mobile management. Don’t throw someone who has held a traditional management desk-job for 10 years into the mobile arena without some new ideas. Send managers to seminars and continuing education courses so they can learn the skills needed to manage a remote workforce effectively. Remote work isn’t the same as working a few doors down from your team. Your managers will likely need new benchmarks when it comes to measuring productivity, as well as a boost in both hard and soft skills, such as bringing themselves up to date with the latest technology and software, and learning how to effectively communicate remotely.
Companies don’t need to completely let go of the reins when they go mobile. Some start out slowly, providing some flexibility while working out the kinks. Whether you’ve been mobile for years or you’re doing some research on whether it’s right for you, every company has the opportunity to make mobile flexibility an asset instead of a liability. One thing is certain—if you don’t start exploring mobile optimization now your company may not remain competitive for long.
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Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.