Technology has transformed the way we work and do business. With advances in cloud and mobile workforce technology, more and more companies around the world are equipping their employees for remote work.
According to a survey by the International Workplace Group on 18,000 business professionals across 96 countries, 70% of employees are working remotely at least one day a week and 53% are working remotely for at least half of the week. In 2023, it is projected that the mobile workforce will increase to 1.88 billion, representing 43% of the global workforce.
Investing in the right mobile workforce technology delivers numerous benefits to your business, including attracting and retaining staff, reducing operational costs, improving team collaboration and boosting workplace productivity. However, it can be a challenge to implement and requires a significant change in systems, processes and procedures.
In this blog post we’ll show you how, as an IT professional, you can enable and support a mobile workforce in your organisation with the right technology.
Assess the current environment
The journey starts with assessing your current IT environment to identify what mobile workforce technology you need to implement. Ask questions about your existing operations such as:
- Do you have the infrastructure to support a mobile workforce?
- Can you use the existing technologies?
- Do you need to implement and integrate new technologies?
- Do you need to change current policies and procedures?
- Do you have the necessary capabilities and skillsets internally?
Security is another big issue to resolve. It would be a good idea to evaluate your current security measures and procedures before making any changes. Conducting a thorough site audit to identify any risks and vulnerabilities in your systems and networks is the perfect place to start.
This might also be a good time to meet with the other departments, like HR and operations – to better align people, processes and technology for remote working across the organisation.
Enable collaborative mobile workforce technologies
Effective communication, teamwork and collaboration are critical components of a successful mobile workforce. Collaborative technologies allow remote workers to feel like they are part of the team – whether they’re working from home, in another state or another country.
Tools like Slack and Webex Teams enable real-time communication and coordination among team members from any location. Cloud-based project management platforms like Trello, Asana or Basecamp allow remote team members to manage projects, organise tasks and track progress on objectives.
Google Suite even offers a full package from email and file storage to document management and collaboration tools. However, if yours is a large organisation, you may find yourself outgrowing Google Suite. In that case, it would be better to implement an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution.
Enabling collaborative technologies not only builds a team-oriented culture, but it also facilitates ongoing communication among staff members and boosts workplace productivity. It’s just a matter of finding the tools that will integrate into your company culture, and your existing systems and processes.
Enhance the security of networks, systems and devices
Security is probably the biggest challenge when allowing staff to work remotely. A mobile workforce significantly increases the risks of a potential data breach, hacking and other forms of cyberattacks.
There are a few things to consider when investing in new mobile workforce technologies that may impact the security of your networks, systems and devices:
- How are you tracking sensitive business information being shared online?
- Do you have control over who has access to the network and the different access levels?
- How do you manage and support individual devices to make sure they have the latest software and upgrades?
- What systems and measures do you have to make sure your data is secure in the cloud?
There are several ways to improve mobile and network security. You can start by implementing secure access to the company network. This can be done by making sure remote workers use a virtual private network (VPN) to access business documents and files.
Additionally, it’s important to ensure that remote workers use one secure cloud platform to manage and store business documents and files. This greatly reduces the points of vulnerability. It creates a central location for all sensitive data – rather than having different documents and other business information sitting in individual machines and devices.
Implement a remote working policy
While more full-time employees are working remotely than ever, many companies still don’t have a remote working policy.
A remote working policy needs to clearly communicate the vision, goals and objectives set out by the company. It should include all roles and responsibilities - plus all guidelines, processes and procedures when working remotely.
The policy should also include all security, confidentiality and privacy guidelines, such as explaining how a remote employee can securely connect to the network and access relevant business data.
Rapid changes in the workplace and acceleration in the adoption of digital technologies have fast-tracked the future of work. It's time to act now and prepare your business for the future. Download our Workplaces of the Future ebook to learn more.