The traditional office is being transformed. Many employers are offering flexible working hours and the ability to work from home – and for good reason. Reduced commuting time can improve work/life balance and make for more satisfied employees.
For teams with scheduled out-of-office days or sales reps that are out on the road visiting clients, it’s crucial to provide the right tools to help maximise mobile productivity. Here are five ways to gain better results from a mobile workforce, and help mobile employees become more productive.
Sales reps with back-to-back client meetings will need a laptop with all-day battery life. Marketing and creative teams, however, generally need more processing power to run graphics and multimedia applications. For others, the priority might be the portability provided by thin-and-light ultrabooks or convertible laptops.
Choose the hardware for employees in consultation with them. Find out about their requirements. The right equipment can help your team stay focused on their work instead of worrying about finding a power outlet or waiting for applications to load.
For employees operating from multiple different locations, being armed with the best tools to communicate and collaborate is critical. Instant messaging applications deliver one-on-one, group chat, and file sharing capabilities in a way that promotes quick and easy communication. Cloud-based software packages can provide calendar, appointment, and scheduling functions that make collaboration more efficient.
Reviewing your email software can even streamline things further. A light-weight, web-based email program, for example, may be more efficient for mobile employees rather than using a full Windows or Mac application.
Keep everyone on the same page and avoid “splintered data” (where multiple, locally-kept versions of files accumulate on individual desktops and laptops) by centralising data. Cloud-based software such as a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system can give you one platform for all customer data. A cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system will bring together customer information, along with all other core business data, into the one application. By using one platform, manual rekeying and fixing of data duplication errors won’t take up any more of your team’s time.
Some employers may have concerns about how employees can stay on-track and be productive when working outside the office. But it all comes down to results. The right software can deliver real-time feedback on business metrics, KPIs, report snapshots, and more. Not only can you see live progress, but employees can use these metrics to stay motivated and keep on track with their achievements.
Repetitive, manual tasks are prime targets for automation. Whether it’s setting up email rules to quickly sort incoming messages, creating macros, or scheduling business-critical reports to be run, automation saves time and effort. Additionally, mobile employees don’t need to be in front of a computer for manual actions to take place. Leave it to automation so they can spend more time focusing on revenue-generating tasks.
Stephen Canning, CEO, JCurve Solutions