In just a few short years, telework has grown from a small trend into a global movement. Organizations around the world are now knocking down their cubicles and re-thinking the idea of the traditional office in an effort to allow employees to work from any place at any time.
A big reason why remote work is surging in popularity can be attributed to recent advancements in technology — particularly regarding connectivity, mobile devices, and cloud computing. What’s interesting is that, in a recent study, 46 percent of workers indicated that they communicate primarily through email, phone, or instant message in order to avoid some of the distractions associated with face-to-face communication. And 86 percent now prefer to work alone to reach maximum productivity.
As such, many organizations are now embracing these attitudes and are allowing remote work. However, there is a catch — none of the benefits that come with telework are automatic. There are actually a fair number of pitfalls that can arise with remote work and companies proving to be successful are the ones that recognize the risks at hand and take the time to lay the groundwork for a successful program. You can’t just sit back, allow your employees to start working from anywhere, and hope for the best. It’s not that simple.
So, what are some of the things you should consider as you plan to embrace remote work? Here are 7 ways you can ensure that productivity remains strong in your new mobile workforce:
Centralize Your Data
Employees that work remotely may switch frequently between devices throughout the day. A worker, for instance, may start working on a laptop in the morning, move to a tablet or smartphone while traveling, and then switch to a desktop at night. It can be very difficult to keep track of documents throughout this type of shuffle, and important items can get lost between devices. You can reduce stress by centralizing all mobile data into a single, cloud-based repository that can be accessed from any device or location. This will save workers a great deal of time and confusion.
Make Sure Employees Are Comfortable
You may wind up saving a great deal of money on overhead if you abandon your office or downsize in favor of a remote environment. So if you can, give back to your remote workers in small ways. Provide tools that make it easier to work while moving around (like lap desks, travel mugs and clip-on lights). You could even provide nicer items like chairs or standing desks. This will improve productivity, and it will improve morale by making your workers feel valued.
Voicemail On Mobile
One of the hardest parts about working remotely is staying connected to important messages. We have all gotten up from our desks and come back to two, three, or four voice messages. Consider investing in a solution that will allow your workers to move around at will without losing connectivity to important notifications like voice messages. One option is to use a system with the capability to forward voice messages directly to mobile devices.
Use Presence Technology
Another technology that you’ll want to consider is a mobile application that provides presence data for employees. With this information, it will be possible to see who is reachable throughout the day. This will help remote teams collaborate and communicate as they are sitting next to one another at work — even if they are thousands of miles away!
Improve Access & Identity Management
One thing you’ll want to focus on is streamlining the login process for employees. Invest in tools that make it easy and secure for workers to access their devices, applications, and data. For example, consider investing in laptops and mobile devices that come with built-in biometric sensors. This will reduce employee lock-outs.
Invest In Mobile Faxing
Another inconvenience about remote work is that most people do not have private fax machines at home (or in their local coffee shops…). It can be a real hassle trying to fax a document while on-the-go. You can solve this problem by using a mobile application that comes with fax capabilities.
You’ll also want to be careful to avoid “app overload.” In a recent study, 17 percent of employees complained that too many applications are needed to get work done. So it will make sense to invest in a mobile solution that can reduce clutter by combining multiple applications into one.