What does Mobile Workforce really mean?
The simplest definition proposes that a mobile workforce is a
‘group of employees operating from a variety of locations, connected by computers, smartphones and other devices via the Internet.’
Indeed, Mobile workers are increasingly becoming the norm thanks to technological improvement and increased connectivity. This constant advancement in technology has not only made mobile devices powerful business tools, but has enabled workforces to conduct business around the clock, regardless of time or geographical location.
Today’s mobile workers are using such applications as business intelligence, analytics, remote collaboration and social media on their mobile devices. A plethora of cloud based services exist to support the mobile workforce. Various dashboards and software products help professionals collaborate, managers to monitor workflow, delegate work amongst team members or external contractors, and lead a mobile workforce that’s not centralised in a traditional office.
The popularity of cloud services are just one indicator to show that the mobile workforce is due to become the norm. As both software and hardware evolve, the information technology industry is becoming more capable of helping companies to outsource more diverse tasks, both anywhere and everywhere.
Benefits of a Mobile Workforce
The benefits here lie both with the user and the organisation.
- Regulate a better work / Life balance
- Increased productivity
- Increased customer service
- More workflow flexibility
Needs of the Mobile Workforce
- Flexible work schedules
- Ability to use mobile devices
- Modern, Secure remote access solutions
Steps to Enable a Mobile Workforce
Here are some steps organisations should consider when planning and developing an effective mobile workforce:
Make mobility the heart of your interaction model. Keep in mind that there are two important types of interactions for organizations: employee empowerment and customer engagement. In both cases, the goal should be to provide universal access to people, applications and data.
Establish clear, attainable business goals and measurable outcomes for enterprise mobility. It’s not enough to say that every salesperson in your organisation requires remote access to your customer relationship management applications. Your business goals for mobility need to be specific and quantifiable—for example, increase sales of add-on products by a certain percentage.
Commit to a strategy of application modernisation. Developing, integrating and operating new mobile applications can motivate your workforce and enable significant increases in productivity. But you probably won’t realise the full benefit unless your IT organisation modernises its portfolio of business applications to make it easier, more reliable and less expensive to manage on a day-to-day basis.
Realise that security and compliance are critical business issues. Business leaders should be collaborating with IT organizations to develop security best practices for an increasingly mobile workforce. Failure to do so could result in service interruptions, threats to customer privacy and also data loss. Keep in mind that widespread compliance and legal issues come into play when mobile workforces fail to take proper safeguards.