Mobile Working: Benefits, Challenges, and Best Practices
Written by: Rinaily Bonifacio
Last updated: 7 November 2023
Table of contents
What is mobile working?
Mobile working, often referred to as remote work, is the ability for employees to perform their tasks outside of a traditional office environment.
It leverages mobile devices, apps, and internet connectivity, enabling work from almost anywhere.
The evolution of mobile working
Mobile working isn't a brand-new concept; field workers, retail employees, and even salespeople have been working away from a fixed location for decades.
However, with the rise of mobile devices and high-speed internet, the ability to work remotely has expanded to a broader range of roles. The growing demand for flexible working hours and better work-life balance further propelled this shift.
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Advanced mobile workforce management solutions and mobile apps have made it easier for employers to manage devices and track employee performance, regardless of their physical location.
Benefits of mobile working
There's a reason why many employers and HR professionals are leaning into the mobile workforce trend:
Flexibility and improved work-life balance - Mobile workers often report a better work-life balance, as they can adjust their working hours to fit life's demands.
Access to a global talent pool - Small businesses and even larger enterprises aren't limited to hiring talent in their immediate location.
Reduced overheads for businesses - Without the need to maintain a physical workspace for all employees, businesses can cut costs.
Key challenges of mobile working
While the mobile work landscape offers numerous advantages, it's not without its hurdles:
Potential distractions and productivity killers - With the freedom to work remotely, employees might face more distractions at home or in public spaces.
Overwork and burnout - Without the clear boundaries of an office, some mobile employees might find it challenging to 'switch off,' leading to longer working hours and potential burnout.
Ensuring consistent business communication - Managing a remote workforce means finding ways to keep everyone connected. With deskless workers or those using their own devices, maintaining streamlined business communication can be a hurdle.
How do companies implement mobile working?
Implementing mobile work is a strategic decision that requires careful planning and the right infrastructure. Here's a step-by-step guide to help businesses transition smoothly:
1. Assess company needs
Before anything else, understand why you want to introduce remote working. Whether accessing a broader talent pool or providing a better work-life balance for employees, being clear on the objectives is crucial.
2. Create a policy
Draft a comprehensive remote working policy. This should detail who can work remotely, when and how often, the expectations regarding availability, and guidelines about using their device for work purposes.
3. Invest in device management
With employees potentially using their own devices, it's vital to implement a robust device management system. This helps ensure that all devices accessing company data are secure, updated, and threats-free.
4. Train your employees
Introduce training programs that educate employees about best practices when working remotely. This can range from how to protect sensitive data to the efficient use of tools and platforms.
5. Ensure robust connectivity
For mobile working to be effective, ensuring all employees have access to high-speed internet is fundamental.
6. Test and review
Start with a pilot program, allowing a few employees to work remotely. Gather feedback, understand the challenges, and refine the process before a full-scale rollout.
7. Embrace augmented reality and advanced tools
For roles that require on-site presence or hands-on work, consider using augmented reality. For instance, a technician can be guided remotely through AR glasses, making it possible to tackle complex tasks without being physically present.
Essential tools for your mobile workers
For mobile workers to be efficient and productive, they require a toolkit that supports their workflow. Here's a list of essential tools:
Productivity apps - Task managers and time trackers help organize the day and ensure that projects are on track. Popular options include Trello, Asana, and Todoist.
Communication tools - Ensuring clear communication is pivotal. Video conferencing tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams and instant messaging platforms like Slack can bridge the distance between team members.
Cloud storage and collaboration platforms - Remote working becomes much simpler when documents and data are stored in the cloud. Tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive allow for easy access and collaboration, irrespective of where the employee is located.
Security tools - Protecting sensitive data is a top priority. VPNs ensure a secure connection, even when accessing company data from public networks. Password managers like LastPass or 1Password can keep login details safe and accessible.
The right combination of tools, training, and policy can make the transition to mobile working smoother and more efficient for companies, ensuring that they harness the full potential of this modern approach to work.
Tips for effective communication and collaboration
Maintaining clear channels of communication and collaboration is a cornerstone of successful remote teams. As we delve deeper into the age of mobile work, these skills become even more essential.
Here's a breakdown of some foundational tips:
1. Scheduled check-ins with the team
Establishing a routine for regular team check-ins provides a structured opportunity for team members to connect, share updates, and align on goals.
These touchpoints, whether daily or weekly, promote team cohesion and ensure everyone is on the same page.
When managed inclusively, considering different time zones, and facilitated with clear agendas, these check-ins can drastically improve team efficiency and morale.
2. Using collaboration platforms effectively
Collaboration tools have become the digital workspace for many remote teams. Selecting the right platform tailored to the team's needs can make a significant difference in productivity.
Once chosen, it's crucial to ensure everyone is adept at using it, maximizing its features.
Organizing channels, integrating with other tools, and having a structure can turn these platforms into powerful hubs of productivity and collaboration.
3. The importance of clear and concise communication
In remote work, clarity in communication is a prized asset. Since many interactions lack the nuances of face-to-face conversations, being direct and concise helps avoid misunderstandings.
Using structured formats like bullet points can make written communication more digestible. Additionally, awareness of cultural sensitivities and promoting an open feedback culture can further refine and enhance how teams communicate.
The work landscape is evolving, with mobile working taking center stage in modern business operations. While it presents many advantages, from flexibility to access a global talent pool, it comes without challenges.
However, with strategic implementation, the right set of tools, and an emphasis on clear communication, businesses can navigate these challenges effectively.
As we continue to embrace this shift, companies must remain adaptable, putting technology and employee well-being at the forefront of their mobile working strategies. In doing so, they position themselves for success in a world where physical boundaries no longer define work.
Rinaily is a renowned expert in the field of human resources with years of industry experience. With a passion for writing high-quality HR content, Rinaily brings a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities of the modern workplace. As an experienced HR professional and content writer, She has contributed to leading publications in the field of HR.
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