Gone are the days of rigid 9am to 5pm office working schedules. Changing attitudes towards work mean that today, employees are no longer fixed to computer terminals. Instead, experts predict that by 2020, over half of the UK workforce will work remotely.

But, as the mobile workplace emerges, so does new challenges. And businesses are having to do more to meet this desire for new and flexible ways of working, or lose skilled employees to competitors that will.

So, what do you need to empower your mobile workforce and drive success?

The right IT

Crucially, you’ll need an IT infrastructure that works. Despite paying lip-service to the idea of mobility, far too many companies still find it difficult to get hold of remote workers, and 43% of remote workers find it difficult to access documents and files[1].

This can lead to delayed decision making, hamper productivity and frustrate everyone involved. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, insufficient technology is often the cause of this irritation.

The right processes

Secondly, if you want to keep remote employees engaged, you’ll need to put robust processes in place.

Technology such as instant messaging and voice and video conferencing tools enable instant connectivity regardless of whether people are in the office. As well as technical solutions, scheduled face-to-face meetings should also be used where appropriate to keep the lines of communication open. Headsets, webcams and cloud-based apps are also recommended.

You should also establish clear aims and expectations. Mobile working requires a degree of trust. To make sure yours isn’t exploited, put clear goals in place.

The cloud

The mobile working revolution is defined by the cloud-worker. According to a recent study[2], employees spend, on average, 4.6 hours working in browser-based business apps across multiple devices. What’s more, they regard the freedom to access company resources from any location as fundamental to their work/life balance.

The cloud has revolutionised the way we do things; with the ability to access everything we need, from anywhere, on any internet-enabled device. Tools such as hosted desktops which allow you to log in from any location are a must.

The right attitude

Of course, to create a productive, engaged mobile workforce, you will need the right tech. But it goes deeper than that. Real change demands a new approach. One that is led from the top and which establishes and fosters a supportive mobile culture across all parts of a business.

But a word of warning; for some people, change is hard. Not everyone wants to give up working more traditionally. So, if you’re planning on rolling out mobile working across the board, be prepared for some conflict. Regular engagement and an awareness of those functions/roles not suited to mobile working is a must.

An intelligent workplace culture combined with reliable, relevant technology allows employees to work remotely (or be mobile within the office). Ultimately, on-the-go working helps to attract and retain skilled employees who value flexible working arrangements, while making you more productive, more efficient and more competitive.

Want to mobilise your workforce? For more information on how we can help get your business ready for a mobile workforce, contact us today for an informal chat.



[1] BT, The Mobile Multiplier, 2016

[2] Google and Forrester