By 2020, IDC estimates that the U.S. mobile worker population will comprise more than 72 percent of the total national workforce. It’s therefore clear that the mobile workforce isn’t a short-term trend, but instead an indicator of a growing movement of workers from traditional office settings and hours to more flexible working arrangements.
With both mobile and digital tech fueling the mobile workforce, it remains the answer for businesses of all sizes that want to succeed in leveraging their skilled employees across industries such as government, education, consumer goods and retail. In the year ahead, the biggest challenge facing business leaders will be how to implement technology across their workforce that directly addresses their employers’ needs while also promoting increased collaboration and project management. Organizations must start by implementing these three factors:
Make Remote A Reality
The availability of smartphones and compact computers allows employees to work virtually anywhere, anytime. Surprisingly, a recent national survey showed that given the option, over a third (36 percent) of U.S. employees would choose the ability to work from home over a pay raise. This is a clear indication that the nature of work is evolving, and a hot button issue. Employers need to embrace this new reality of work sooner rather than later. This is particularly the case as workforces are increasingly comprised of younger generations who bring evolved consumer tech preferences. In fact, Gartner predicts that 38 percent of companies are planning to stop providing devices directly to workers by the end of 2016, and that half of employers will instead require employees to use their own device for work in two years time. The reality, then, is that workforces already evolving and will only continue to shift towards a mobile, own-device driven culture.
The option to work remote—which goes hand-in-hand with the progression of BYOD policies—delivers an increase in employee contentment as well as efficiency. To effectively realize mobile structures and BYOD across workforces, businesses must implement solutions that allow workers to centralize and efficiently mark off tasks in real time, collaborate and see updates on daily action items. This is key to managing productivity across teams, which in turn will also positively impact work-life balance.
Rethink the Intranet
Intranets were once a convenient way for companies to organize information and files. But now, they’re too cluttered and clumsy for employees to reference. Today’s nimble, fast-growing businesses don’t have time for over-reliance on their IT departments. Additionally, remote employees have a difficult time accessing company intranets through a VPN, putting a damper on productivity. Put simply: the traditional intranet is cumbersome. It needs an overhaul to make data easily accessible on a variety of devices and to actionably deliver tangible business results. The goal of a modern social collaborative platform must be to eliminate siloes between teams or departments in favor of offering a convenient, pragmatic tool where employees can connect, share ideas and documents.
Achieve Inbox Zero
While email is currently the default communication method in most office settings, in actuality it’s one of the biggest obstacles against efficiency, causing frustration for workers. A recent poll has found that for 31 percent of workers, email is their top self-professed workplace distraction. Having to weed through minor notes and one-line memos to find urgent tasks opens gaping holes of missed notices and time sensitive deliverables. Teams need a responsive alternative to overflowing inboxes as a means of achieving enhanced collaboration, organizations and task completion.
Ultimately, businesses must leverage technology that unlocks employee productivity and satisfaction. As consumer technology becomes more mobile and streamlined, these trends will directly impact the tech of the workplace. Applications that businesses choose to implement across teams must simplify rather than add complexity and barriers to remote exchanges. While rethinking communication methods that have been in place for decades may seem daunting, adopting the next generation of productivity and collaboration tech—for example, collaborative software and apps—will provide positive results for individuals, teams and entire organizations in the near future.
Leif Hartwig is a seasoned entrepreneur who has spent his career helping small businesses accelerate growth and revenues. He founded Bolste to continue doing exactly that – to develop an easy-to-use tool to help today’s entrepreneurs, small businesses and teams within larger organizations quickly increase productivity and efficiency. Prior to founding Bolste, Leif was President of TruQuest Corporation, a consulting company that instructed over 10,000 business leaders in 70 North American cities, adding billions of dollars of top line revenues to major financial services organizations. He was also a Senior Vice President for RBC Wealth Management. For more information about Leif and/or Bolste, please visit www.bolste.com.