Your go everywhere office: the business benefits of mobile working

Your go everywhere office: the business benefits of mobile working

The prevalence of mobile devices in the world serves as a precursor to their use in business. Meeker’s 2013 trend report recognised over 1.5 billion smartphone subscribers with room to grow. YouGov’s Media, Technology and Telecoms predicts that 50 percent of all households will own a tablet by the end of 2014.

The millenials, those between age 20 and 33, have come to expect a certain amount of flexibility. In fact, 78 percent would prefer greater mobile use at work. The generation that follows will require it. The emerging workforce grew up and trained in school with smartphones, tablets and laptops at their disposal. They have been trained to be mobile.

The time has arrived for businesses to join the mobile world. For true business mobility, cloud computing, evolved devices, high performance wireless and the enhancement of unified communications had to unite to make it reasonable for businesses to go mobile.

What once was only portable is now truly mobile through cloud computing. A survey by Gartner cites 38 percent of businesses surveyed are in the cloud already, but 80 percent of those not in the cloud will make the move within twelve months. A study by Capgemini Consulting and MIT demonstrated that companies that transform their business rather than experiment with mobility have greater success.

The mobile office needs to be a part of your business strategy. What will mobility mean for your business and how will you transform your company?

Mobile working means flexibility

The mobile office means flexible working. Your employees are no longer confined to the office or by a nine to five schedule. Neither are you as the business owner.

Attract top talent : You as a business owner want to attract and retain high-quality staff. Each generation and each individual you hire will have slightly different priorities, but flexibility and work-home balance is at the top of the list.

Connected workers : The introduction of mobile working improves your employees’ ability to work and collaborate. Data from your sales team can be readily available in the cloud to aid your marketing team.

Reduced costs : The mobile office offers the potential for reduced costs. Improved efficiency in collaboration or less energy and real estate required for the home office are a couple of areas where you can witness cost savings.

Competitive edge : Your customers will benefit when you have the tools and flexibility to meet where it’s convenient for them and outside the nine to five hours that they work.

Boosted morale : Flexible working generates employee satisfaction when employees are able to fulfil their work responsibilities and their needs at home. Globally, 73 percent of workers identified mobile working as the solution to their feelings of anxiety surrounding work.

Improved productivity : Mobility permits employees to work when and where they work best. Whether they need a change in scene or work in different hours, they are able to improve how they work as individuals.

Results over hours : A flexible work schedule requires a results-driven method of monitoring workers. When employees are measured by how much they achieve, it will encourage them produce those results.

Management style

The devices that make your office mobile are there to enable your workers, but a mobile office causes a shift in the culture of the company. A shift in culture requires a shift in management style and a change in mentality for everyone.

In a mobile office, time spent will no longer mean as much as results. Because of this, people will need a clear understanding of expectations. You want to ensure you are available for the support they need, but allow them to meet the objectives and priorities you set in their own way.

Flexibility and results-driven management can allow you to give employees more freedom. If your best worker needs to pick up their kids at 3pm a few times a week, a mobile office makes it easier to say yes.

A mobile office can be accessed anywhere at any time. Ensure your employee’s know you respect their time by setting clear limits on your expectations. To save employees from overworking, be clear about non-office hours when employees can ignore their devices.

Your behaviour and the standard you set can improve your mobile office. Avoid ringing employees to ask questions when they are not inside working hours and schedule your late interoffice emails to delay until morning.

BYOD and mobile policies

We are already experiencing the post-PC era. Every business needs to look ahead to the mobile office and have policies in place.

Whether your office is BYOD or has its own army of mobile devices, policies protect your company’s data and information. Policies also protect your employees’ privacy and define what the mobile office looks like for your business. Trust, a certain amount of freedom and security awareness will ensure a healthy approach to the mobile office.

Home office support

A mobile office does not mean you have no on site tools. How you equip your home space will determine the success of your mobile office.

Pay attention to the lighting, the seating and the layout of work spaces. Designate places for teamwork or meetings and doors that can be closed for independent work.

You want your employees to be mobile, but you want employees to return to an inviting, well-equipped home office. The main hindrance for mobile workers is having nowhere to charge their devices and a slow connection. Your office needs adequate outlets, power and connectivity.

Your employees may need to pitch a presentation or print materials. Back up the tools of your employee’s mobile office with printers, displays and even spare chargers for when they leave theirs at home.

Pitches and presentations

Mobility streamlines collaboration and presentations by making it easy to pass information to a room of people.

Large format displays are a major part of the home office. They have no glare or shadow, sizes to suit a meeting room, reception area or conference centre and wireless capabilities. Applications allow you to create presentations and then push it to the display.

A laptop is essential for many of your workers, but workers in many industries find substantial use for a tablet. You can use a tablet as your display on the floor, for one-on-one meetings or push your presentation to the large format display.

Mobile printing

The mobile office can cut your use of resources like ink and paper, but your business still needs printed materials and contracts.

Samsung printers are equipped with NFC which means you don’t have to connect to a network to print. Walk into the office, tap and print to process documents.

Printers have memory capabilities which allow them to print standard forms your business utilizes without needing the device or application that houses the original file.

Your documents are secure. You can sort and send your queue then click to collect when ready by typing in a pin number.

Essential company Android business apps

Samsung's Mobile Print App: Intelligent print and scan functions with customisable print settings for wireless printing.

Samsung KNOX: Separates work data beneath multiple layers of security from personal storage on mobile devices.

Mighty Meeting: Store presentations and drive them from your smartphone or tablet.

Evernote Business: Cloud storage, collaboration and task management in a favoured application.

Team Viewer: Use for remote access to office desktops. Files, programs and applications are always readily accessible.

Office Suite Pro 7: To work on the go, you need the basic programs to work in. Word processor, Powerpoint and Excel capabilities are available on your mobile device.

Mobile workstation checklist

Mobile working is a combination of tools and applications tailored to your business to support the work your employees do. There are basic tools each employee will want to carry with them:

Computer : Each employee will need a small, lightweight notebook PC or laptop with extended battery life like the Notebook PC or a tablet like the Galaxy Tab for certain roles.

Smartphone : A smartphone like the Galaxy S III or Galaxy Note II gives employees access to applications and email so they can work standing in a queue, in a waiting room or on the train.

Company applications : Make sure the devices your employees use have all the applications your company uses and that they create a cohesive compilation for your business.

Charger : Make sure employees have the chargers and adaptors required to plug in and charge.

Listening device : A set of headphones or ear buds can help concentration in a busy environment and ensure only your company is listening in.

Ten step guide to transition

The benefits of a mobile office make the transition well worth it, but it does require a proactive and engaged approach.

1. Assess your business. Evaluate your office and operations to determine how different teams can use devices and applications to boost productivity and increase efficiency.

2. Research applications and devices. Each business is different. Research what combination of devices and cloud applications will be most effective in your mobile office.

3. Create a business plan. This is an opportunity to evolve and grow your business. Avoid stuffing your current business model into a mobile office, but shift your business to suit going mobile.

4. Choose tools. Equip your people and equip your office with the devices and applications that will improve how they work in the office and on the go.

5. Appoint teachers. Designate people in your office that will be able to support colleagues as they learn new programs and procedures.

6. Determine the method of communication. Mobility offers a number of avenues for communication including instant messaging, cloud applications and email. Pick your primary method so that your employees stay on the same page.

7. Adapt your management style. The same management style won’t hold up in a mobile office. Implement a system that measures results, not hours.

8. Set policies, expectations and limits. Clearly communicate guidelines, priorities and expectations to employees.

9. Meet your deadline. The transition may be gradual, but it is permanent. Set a deadline for everyone to be up and running.

10. Monitor your mobility. Gauge the marked benefits of your mobile office and how it can take you even further.

Convergence and compatibility

For your business to benefit from becoming a mobile office, the technology and devices you use need to be cohesive with the needs of your office. You want to make sure the devices that you are responsible for are the best.

When choosing devices or selecting applications for your operations, you want to consider a smooth transition, consistency between interfaces and a short learning curve.

Mobility has all the potential to improve the productivity and efficiency of your business, but implementing a mobile office takes forethought, a change in the way you think about working and a commitment to going mobile.