Vera Loftis, Managing Director UK, Bluewolf
The modern workforce is more demanding than ever before. The ability to work from anywhere and, in particular, when ‘on the move’ is now assumed as a right rather than a benefit by an increasing number of staff. As a result, staff require access to information instantaneously. The lack of distinction between office and home life became even more deliberate in June 2014, when the UK Government gave the right of flexible working to every employee across the country with more than six months’ service. Thus, IT departments are under increasing pressure to enable mobile working for the business quickly and HR are under strain to establish and ensure company-wide policies and guidelines are implemented effectively, while keeping its workforce engaged in a remote capacity.
Here are five top tips that all HR departments should consider:
1: Work-life balance
HR departments should strongly consider that a variety of cloud technology and intuitive mobile apps are available for employees to work remotely and access real-time data. This improves work-life balance and supports productivity. The rise in mobile applications has given employees the ability to complete certain tasks and support business-level goals much faster whilst ‘on the move.’ In a 24/7 always on economy, customers expect instant service. Mobile working enables employees to service customers whilst offsite.
2: Enabling productivity in “dead time”
Being able to work in what would normally have been dead time, e.g. a long commute, is another great benefit. However, it is key that HR departments sell this in as an advantage to employees sensitively. In a world where we are constantly connected, many employees feel obligated to check emails and work on documents after hours. HR need to clearly ensure that the use of mobile technology is to make employee’s lives easier and ultimately more productive, as opposed to increasing the amount of hours staff are working.
3: Better information dissemination – mobile first
The right mobile tools can also improve collaboration and knowledge-sharing among your employees, and help them engage with customers more effectively. Having access to real-time accurate data whilst working remotely enables employees to do their job from any location; they no longer have to wait until they get back to the office to retrieve data and collaborate with other colleagues. This increases your workforce’s ability to act, make better decisions and ultimately improves job satisfaction.
4: Enabling employee self-service
The use of mobile technology empowers employees to do more for themselves, giving them access to the tools they need to do their job as efficiently as possible at all times. Security is often a real concern for companies when discussing the use of mobile devices and debate over the use of personal vs company owned devices is complex. They key is not to implement so much security on mobile devices that employees get frustrated that they cannot access what they require ‘on the move.’
5: Championing change
Championing change across the business can often be challenging and there will be stumbling blocks along the way – regardless of how great the implementation for the technology is. Recent research suggests that the majority of IT project failures are not due to the technology, but the inability to effect change and lack of communication. Human design and behaviour makes us wary of change. To encourage employees to get the most out of mobile, HR needs to ensure they act as an enabler rather than an enforcer when it comes to the engagement of their workforce through mobile technology. Setting out clear guidelines on mobile working and ensuring that HR and IT are aligned will dramatically increase your chances of achieving the desired business outcomes.