There is a clear and positive link between those organisations who invest in and allow their employees mobile and flexible working environments, with research showing that they become more creative and more loyal to your business.
Furthermore the study dispelled the myth that only the “Generation Mobile” workers, those who have grown up with mobile technology, are the main benefactors of mobilising your workforce. It seems that most who have it available will use it, and become more satisfied in their work.
The approach to mobilisation involves building IT systems that allow your employees access to your business data and applications that they need to do their job – from any location, on any device, and at any time.
Business owners can be reluctant in adopting a mobile-first strategy; for all of its positives there are costs involved and you need to have trust in your workforce, particularly when developing flexible working policies.
And until now, there has been no completed research that confirms to these executive’s the constructive gains from this approach to counter this argument. New investigation within a number of organisations who use mobile working have concluded that they can achieve a 20% increase in employee output, while improving their staff loyalty by 33% – so at last the tangible benefits are proven.
Collaboration improves creativity
Other trends have also appeared from the research. For example, the ability to share ideas by collaboration on project or development work had a massive impact on creativity, with the report suggesting that more than half of employees with mobile working capabilities say they are more creative.
It’s well known that working in teams spark and enhance creativity, but getting everyone relevant together at the same time to develop ideas is difficult to do without mobilising your workforce.
Using technologies such as file sharing technology or unified communications can break down the organisational barriers associated with collaborating across multiple teams in multiple locations. It allows everyone to come together regardless of their location, time zone, and whether they are inside or outside of your organisation.
Steps to mobilise your workforce
Businesses in the UK have given their employees the ability to work from home or off-site locations for many years, with some solutions being more sophisticated than others.
Typically small businesses have been using software like GoToMyPC, which allows you to access your work files and applications by connecting to your PC back in the office across the internet. There are many flaws to this, least not you have to remember to leave your PC in the office switched on and logged in at all times!
The next step often taken to improve remote working experience is creating a VPN, which allows your private network (your on-premise systems) to be extended across a public network (the internet). Once your users are connected across the VPN, they can access your company resources from outside of the business. There are however management and security concerns with VPN, and performance (e.g. the amount of time it takes to open files) is a real issue.
Larger organisations use remote desktop servers, such as Terminal Server or RDS, which offer a much more complete mobile experience. This will allow you to access your work desktop from any device, all centrally managed by your IT department or your service provider for a high-performing and safe experience.
If you aspire to be a truly mobile organisation, remote desktop services is the minimum you should be considering. Or for the ultimate in flexible working and performance, a VDI solution such as Citrix XenDesktop or VMware Horizon are available to take it to the next level.
Of course getting access to your IT data and applications through remote desktop connections only gives you half the tools you need to truly work mobile. What you need is the ability to communicate to your work colleagues, customers and suppliers as if you were in the same office.
The most basic part of this requirement is for voice communication directly from your chosen device, allowing you to make calls using VoIP technology and appearing as if you are part of the local office-based phone system.
But to get a complete experience, unified communications brings together a whole host of other, integrated real-time communication services such as instant messaging, presence information, web and video conferencing, desktop sharing and electronic interactive whiteboards.
All of these technologies empower the user and gives them all of the tools they need to work smartly, professionally and highly efficiently.
Using the cloud to mobilise
Mobility for your workforce clearly has strong benefits, but many small businesses don’t have the expertise to deploy the systems necessary to facilitate a mobile way of working, nor can afford the cost.
The good news is that there is a simple, cost effective way to improve the mobility of your users by utilising ready to go cloud-based solutions; and technically these products are more suited to operate out of the cloud.
Quest Cloud have a full range of mobile solutions including questVirtualDesktop, Skype for Business and Divvied (our own file sharing service) that give you all you need to fully mobilise your workforce.
Please contact me if you would like more information or demonstrations of these products.