25 Nov How Web Applications are Improving Mobility in the Workplace
“We are witnessing one of the greatest paradigm shifts in modern business with the tremendous growth of a mobile workforce. Work is no longer limited to an office, desk, or computer. Employees can work anywhere they have an Internet connection…”
– Scott Hamilton, Forbes: ‘9 Reasons Every Business Needs a Mobility Strategy‘
The days of tethered employees, attached to desks and unwieldy computers, are long gone.
Now, workers can keep up to date with company news from the comfort of their own smartphones.
It’s no longer a case of getting everyone together in one location for a meeting. Technology allows us to connect with each other via video, messaging, and other digital communication methods.
Mobility in the workplace is now a reality. Employees and employers alike are reaping the benefits of better connected workforces, even if that workforce is spread out around the world.
The last frontier to conquer is timezones. But that’s a conversation for another day, and another article.
Mobility in the Workplace
When we think of mobile workforces we generally consider the benefits of working from home.
But there are other pluses to think on when it comes to cutting analogue cords.
Workers are more autonomous. This lets them budget and manage their own time. Most (if not all) employees will appreciate the implicit trust in this arrangement.
And there’s simple ‘hacks’ like Google Docs, and other cross platform software. This allows employees to use the best medium to work on a particular task.
Writing an article? A computer with a keyboard likely works best.
Checking emails on the go? Use a smartphone.
The Case for Mobile Workers
Many businesses are understandably wary of completely autonomous workers.
But, times are changing, and many employees no longer have the desire to work within traditional business hours. They want to use devices and software that they’re familiar with. And do so in their own time.
This can be of huge benefit to your business.
“The current boom of digital-savvy-employee has changed the way people work. Business users are turning to software and applications that enable them to work from anywhere, and reap the benefits of increased mobility.”
– Barrie Hadfield: ‘The Future of Work: The Mobile Worker’
We’re all connected to the internet 24/7 thanks to smartphones and other digital devices. Businesses shouldn’t fight this trend. Instead they should capitalise on it.
Employees overusing smartphones in the workplace? Let them.
In fact, encourage your workers to bring their own devices (BYOD), and provide them with applications that utilise the tool box they already have.
Hadfield further states:
“This movement is radically altering the types of applications that enterprises need to provide for their employees. The younger generations’ mobile-first approach is fuelling an explosion in mobile working – to the point where it is now an integral part of most businesses.”
The Cloud, Mobile Devices, and External Workflows
The research found that: ‘71% of employees lack IT support for external collaboration.’
It’s simple, really. Work with your employees, and provide them with the tools they need to their jobs efficiently and effectively.
Allow them options and space, and provide them with high quality tools fit for purpose. Tools that best suit mobility in the workplace.
AIIM discovered that with ‘56% of organisations banning consumer-grade file-share and sync services, IT must provide a secure, enterprise-class alternative.’
For many businesses, policies like BYOD are challenging from a security perspective. It’s understandable that many ban consumer technologies. But something has to be offered in their place.
A business can still retain control over the software it uses. It just needs to create its own alternatives.
Mobile, Agile, and Responsive
That probably sounds like a collection of buzzwords. But it also reflects the changing face of business in the digital age.
Successful adoption of sound business policies that promote mobile working have those benefits.
Don’t have a knee jerk reaction, however. The key word is ‘sound.’ A business that wants to use web applications to improve mobility in the workforce needs to consider these key areas:
Of course, designing and installing apps on personal devices presents security concerns for a business. But it doesn’t have to be a problem if good business practices are implemented from the start.
“This is where enterprise mobility management solutions come in – harnessing desktop and app virtualisation can ensure all business information is where it should be – in the data centre – accessed by the people that need to access it, and not stored on an endpoint device that could get misplaced on the tube or stolen from a handbag.”
Getting Applications Up and Running
Another potential pitfall arrives when you consider implementing new apps and business policies at an enterprise level.
In theory, it’s easy. You direct your employees to the new processes, and you watch them adopt new software with ease.
But in actuality there are plenty of problems that arise from new business systems and approaches.
Not all of your employees will have the same level of knowledge. What’s readily understood for some, will be confusing and problematic for others.
This is where training is key. Consider using elearning and gamification to make the learning process simpler, and easier to scale.
Supporting a Mobile Workforce
Your newly connected mobile workforce, with its enterprise specific apps and training, is now up and running.
However, these new processes need carefully monitoring and maintaining. Digital technologies are only effective when up to date and intuitive. Be sure to have a strong foundation in place.
Make sure your IT department is skilled and able to support your mobile workforce. Approaches like A/B testing, and user feedback via things like surveys, will keep you abreast of any problems or issues your employees experience.
Finally, it’s likely that new web applications and other digital innovations will reveal skills gaps in your workforce.
This isn’t something to worry about, but it is something to keep in mind. Your employees might not have the knowledge to use your web applications effectively.
Again, training is important. Web applications, and digital devices, are changing the face of business. This might intimidate some employees so don’t shake things up too quickly.
Implement new processes carefully and with consideration. You can scale up in time, but the immediate goal is getting everyone working from the same page. Everyone should have the same end goal – an agile, mobile, and responsive workforce.
There’s an App for That…
Increasing workplace productivity is simple. Use web applications that are easily accessible from anywhere in the world, on any device.
“84% of all companies who view themselves as cutting-edge in mobility report an increase in overall productivity as a direct result from incorporating mobile apps into their business.”
– Vaidy Lyer, Apps Freedom: ‘How the Mobile Workforce is Increasing Productivity‘
Well implemented mobile apps increase workers productivity. They decrease down time, and they make day-to-day admin tasks much easier to complete.
Technology is portable. It’s more affordable. It makes employees easier to reach.
The case for mobile apps is difficult to argue against. Apps can be designed for your business with its specific needs.
Increase productivity and employee job satisfaction. Shape your workplace into a forward thinking and scalable force to be reckoned with. Mobile workforces are the future. Don’t get left behind.
Reimagining your business in the digital age is a big task. Workers need mobile support, and employers need assurances around security concerns, and the effectiveness of autonomous employees.
At Red Rock Software we understand those needs and concerns. We have years of experience implementing apps, and transforming tethered employees into free roaming and efficient workers.