Technology has transformed the way we work and do business. With advances in mobile and cloud technologies, more and more companies around the world are enabling remote working.
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.
A mobile workforce delivers numerous benefits to the 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.
Assess the current environment
The journey starts with assessing your current IT environment. Implementing a mobile workforce can raise a few questions about your existing operations – questions like:
- Do you have the infrastructure to support a mobile workforce?
- Can you use the existing technologies?
- Or do you need to implement and integrate new ones?
- Do you need to change current policies and procedures?
- Do you have the necessary capabilities and skill sets 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 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. While 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, 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 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 cyber attacks.
There are a few things to consider when enhancing 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
Within the next 10 years, hiring managers are predicting that 38% of full-time employees will mostly work remotely. However, 57% of 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 needs to also include all security, confidentiality and privacy guidelines. This would explain how a remote employee can securely connect to the network and access relevant business data.
To learn more about setting up and managing a mobile workforce, download the Workplace of the Future ebook today!
KYOCERA Document Solutions provides document management solutions with ECOSYS technology to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) and minimise the impact on the environment, while delivering greater productivity, reliability and uptime.