A breaking down of traditional concepts of the workplace and its timetables, enterprise access to talent from across the globe resulting from 24/7 business cultures and improved connectivity, and a press for balance between professional and personal lives have combined to make the mobile workforce a prevailing trend in contemporary society.
For employers, “the new normal” has necessitated a shift in attitudes and practices to enable enterprises to cope. Here are some recommendations to help:
1. Manage At Arm’s Length
With your workers situated at the far corners of the Earth (or even in the next county), you can’t be with them eight hours a day, looking over their shoulders. Managing a mobile workforce means letting go a little, giving employees some latitude, and trusting them to some extent to do their jobs without prodding.
That said, it’s essential to keep an eye on their progress – and to keep them informed of new tasks and new developments. A weekly or bi-weekly phone call, email messages as and when required, combined with instant messaging, chat, or conferencing apps will equip you to monitor their activities and receive their feedback.
2. Foster Communication And Collaboration
Good communications between your workers themselves is also a must. So ensure that everyone is equipped with a suite of voice, email, messaging, and conferencing apps to enable them to maintain contact with colleagues, customers, and suppliers.
Team-building and group activities are helpful in creating bonds between your staff members, and setting up a weekly video conference for project teams will allow them to trade ideas, discuss issues, and get to know each other. You should also facilitate access to any document-sharing, creation, and collaboration platforms or software that they require.
3. Create A Flexible Environment
Mobile, remote, and home-based workers likely won’t be keeping regular hours, and may desire to set their own schedules. You can facilitate this by communicating crucial deadlines, project requirements, and other issues requiring their attention with sufficient notice to reasonably allow them to meet their obligations.
Issuing your workers with a presence panel allows them to keep track of contacts and colleagues on a real-time basis, enabling them to know who’s available for a given task. VoIP features like Find and Follow can redirect calls to their designated mobile or home phone numbers.
4. Create Policies For Devices And Software
Privately-owned hardware is all well and good, but with the handling of potentially valuable or sensitive corporate data on your workers’ mobile devices, some measure of control is required. That means setting approved lists of software, and setting business rules for document and data-handling – and the separation of personal and professional.
5. Centralize Security
The loss or theft of your workers’ mobile devices could put intellectual property and confidential business data into the hands of cyber-criminals – or your rivals. So a centrally managed security policy incorporating data encryption, malware protection, device management and application updates is a must.