Mobile working: five questions to ask before taking your business on the road
Considering introducing mobile working policies in your business?
Now that employees expect more flexible working benefits in the modern workplace, it’s a cost-effective way to scale your business and get the most from emerging technology.
But, whether you are getting rid of the office altogether or taking a hybrid approach, make sure to ask yourself the right questions before you commit to a remote working future.
Mobile working question #1: What can we do now and what comes next?
First you need to figure out which parts of your business are already mobile-ready and which are tied to the office. Do a test run by using what you already have. Then, devote more resources. It’s surprising what new capabilities just a few changes can bring, with investment in strategic mobile working technology making it easier to adapt. Here are some suggestions:
- Microsoft Azure: Flexible, cloud-based storage solutions
- Microsoft Office 365 : Email and other productivity applications, accessible anywhere, any time
- SharePoint or OneDrive: Share files and collaborate together in real-time
Mobile working question #2: Will my employees have what they need?
At a basic level, your employees will need a device and an internet connection to work remotely. They will also require training for the remote tools, such as guides or even video demonstrations. In particular, they will need training on security best practices, such as password-creation and data storage.
While mobile working in itself is an incentive, take this opportunity to explore what else you can do to motivate your employees. Provide an allowance for electricity bills, smart phone contracts or broadband. Champion more flexible working hours and see the difference it can make.
Mobile working question #3: Does our business have defined ways of working?
You might be used to suits and ties every day and defining a good employee by the number of hours they’re at the desk. But with mobile working it’s worth taking a different approach. Create policies and ways of evaluating performance so that you can see what is happening in your business without micromanaging. Studies show that those who work remotely feel more productive, so have a little faith.
Mobile working question #4: How will we communicate?
There are so many fantastic ways to communicate online. Whether you are going all-out remote or only part way, keeping in constant contact to is important.
Famously, Marissa Mayer banned mobile working at Yahoo in 2013. However, most others agree that collaboration and teamwork can happen outside the office, if you set things up correctly. Try using Slack or Skype so employees can chat. Encourage conversation or spontaneous video conferencing. Use different methods for different kinds of communication (both formal and casual).
Mobile working question #5: Are we prepared to keep adapting?
Be ready to listen to the feedback from your employees and allow for a period of adjustment. For some, productivity may go through the roof. For others, there’s just not enough structure. The process often takes some careful management on your part. However, if you are seeing an overall return on investment, don’t give up.
It’s also worth thinking about hiring for the future. Now that you’re not tied to one location, the global talent pool is yours to fish. Recruiting people who can manage their time, work independently and show a willingness to learn, will help you build a dynamic remote working team.
Don’t journey to the modern workplace alone
It’s a good idea to seek advice while you’re still finding the answers to these questions. Learn how other remote companies achieved success or find out about moving to the cloud. Talk, share, collaborate – these days, it can be done anywhere.
To discover the best way to take your business on the road, check out our guide to building a modern workplace roadmap.