Researchers predict 1.75 billion people – more than 40 percent of the global workforce – will be mobile by the end of this decade.
These swelling ranks of remote workers push companies to accommodate
not only a wider range of working hours, but a more diverse set of
workplaces – and an array of mobile devices.
“Data indicates that
the remote-work trend in the U.S. labor force is inexorable, aided by
ever-better tools for getting work done anywhere,” writes Wall Street Journal
columnist Christopher Mims in a recent column. Surveys done by Gallup
reveal that last year, Mims elaborates, the proportion of Americans who
did some or all their work from home was 43 percent, up from 39 in 2012.
Over the same period, the proportion who only work remotely went to 20
percent from 15 percent, he shares.
For your organization, this
evolution in work styles may already have brought a shift in technology
strategy, as your company embraces mobility
by making communication and collaboration tools accessible from any
location – around the corner or across the country. This trend effects
more than your communications infrastructure requirements. The
accelerating flow of people from corporate facilities to home workspaces
and field offices means the onus of efficient and effective business
collaboration is shifting the same direction.
It also means
today’s remote workers carry greater responsibility for productivity.
But researchers have found mobile employees willingly embrace this
burgeoning burden of the digital world. In fact, a poll by the job site
Workopolis cited in Inc. magazine that found nine of 10 people believe working remotely makes them more productive.
How can you support this trend toward increasing productivity in the field? The tech optimization site ITBusinessEdge recently shared five best practices the we consider productivity enablers for remote workers. Here’s our digest:
- Evaluate Mobile Technology Infrastructure Often
– Greater mobility is spreading fast in our society, providing the
driver for the surge in remote workers. So, assess the strength and
capabilities of your company's technology infrastructure on a regular
basis. Conduct quality testing for components such as internet bandwidth
and storage capacity to ensure the technology is fast and secure enough
to evolve with the growth of remote day-to-day operations.
- Establish a Remote Work Policy – Cover
the people issues before tackling the hardware. How many staffers
should work remotely, and how? For example, will all employees be
eligible to work remotely? Will it be a performance-based privilege?
- Establish a Mobile Device Policy
– Will your firm provide all the necessary devices for remote work?
Will your employees? Or will your situation be a mixture of both (which
often is the case)?
- Account for Mobility in Business Continuity Planning
– Check that your plan includes laptops, tablets and smartphones. You
will need these to be functional to commence your off-site recovery,
communicate with customers and stay in touch with employees in the event
of business disruptions.
- Keep in Touch – Yes,
remote workers often are trusted to work without much direct
supervision. But corporate leadership should be wary of slipping into an
out-of-sight-out-of-mind mindset. Poor communication with employees in
any type of working environment – face-to-face included – typically
leads to productivity losses rather than gains.