Patrick Lincoln, MD of business telephony experts Solution IP, offers up his advice on making the most of the mobile office.
From experience, we find that the majority of our clients are interested in a mobile workforce for two main reasons: agility and practicality.
The move towards remote, flexible working continued apace in 2015 and we fully expect to see this trend continue over the coming months and years, as VoIP technology (Voice over Internet Protocol) advances.
When discussing the practical benefits of mobility, it makes sense to think about resilience. In the event of a disaster, office-based workers are more likely to suffer than mobile counterparts, especially if the mobile workforce is making use of a hosted phone system, which facilitates the continuation of day-to-day activities, no matter what, thanks to the cloud.
Enterprise mobility is also an extremely important factor in business growth and success. Mobile workforces empower companies to be more responsive to potential and existing customer needs, as staff are always on hand to respond to questions and act on emerging situations. For SMEs trying to compete with larger firms, utilising a mobile office could be key to establishing themselves in the market, as they’ll often be able to react much quicker and more efficiently than those who are slower to adopt new technology and working practices.
Start as you mean to go on
A system built around the idea of mobility is also perfect for new companies and entrepreneurial outfits looking to get things up and running straight away – being able to email, call, conference, file share and IM instantly, without having to wait for communications hardware to be configured and installed, means that barriers to startup success are reduced.
It is also important to consider the workforce of today. Millennials in particular have been brought up on the idea that they can access anything, anywhere, from any device, and many from this generation may prefer to work for organisations that embrace BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) and mobile strategies. Practically, it means adjusting your working habits and policies to suit a new influx of talent – something that most progressive companies are doing in order to maximise productivity and attract the best possible staff.
Companies keen to test the waters with mobility must implement a clear strategy from the start. Adequate training must be provided and policies put in place to ensure that those entrusted with mobile devices use them properly, complying with the same security procedures that they would be expected to follow in normal office environments.
It’s all in the planning
There are multiple benefits to the idea of a mobile office – cost-savings on designated floor space being one – and mobility is starting to make a real impression on the way we work, with increasing numbers enjoying the flexibility to work from home. Additionally, information sharing and conferencing no longer have to be restricted to individuals being present on-site, as video meetings enable face-to-face experiences that make for agile operations.
However, proper consideration to the best mobility platforms and necessary data requirements must be given to ensure that the transition is seamless and in keeping with your business goals. It’s crucial to do some research and talk to several service providers before taking the plunge, as getting a good range of opinions will really help you make the most of mobility.
Patrick Lincoln is MD of Solution IP.