The mobile working revolution
IS your business making the most of advances in mobile technology to allow your employees to work on the go?
The answer is that there are probably a host of ways you could improve your employees' relationship with mobile communications.
We call it the mobile multiplier, and there are clear trends that have been identified within this, such as the shoulder bag worker, collaboration on the go, addressing security uncertainty, and your organisational culture as the enabler.
It's the theory that the more employees have a good experience of working on the go, the more benefits you as a business will see.
In fact, office workers can deliver a step-change in their effectiveness if they have better apps, data and security for mobile working.
These are some of the findings of an independent survey of office workers carried out across the UK, France, Germany and Spain and they offer a fascinating insight into a working world which would have been unimaginable a few years ago.
Two thirds of office workers now consider being given the flexibility and technology to work from the office, at home or while travelling - the shoulder bag worker, more important in a job than being offered a company car. This should have leaders thinking about whether their mobile strategy is enough to attract the best talent and to keep their business running efficiently?
Two thirds of those surveyed said their mobile communications could be improved to allow them to share information and data with colleagues to help speed up decision making. The need for genuine collaboration on the go is clear, and means much more than just the provision of mobile phones.
It means companies should be thinking about how they can use collaboration tools more effectively, whether it be screen sharing or instant messaging.
This chimes with the fact two thirds of office workers want their IT department to invest more in their mobile devices, more than they want increased investment in their office equipment.
They also want access to work processes and databases remotely and a resilient network.
Have you reviewed what processes your IT department has put in place to safeguard devices and information in the event of a theft?
According to the research, not many workers have sight of that particular process, nor indeed do many IT departments. Dealing with any uncertainty in relation to securing your information on whatever mobile devices you use is key, though it does not have to be an onerous task.
Maybe it's time to review your security protocols for mobile devices to ensure workers get the most from mobile working.
And then there's cost. Three quarters of workers said their employer tries to limit the cost of using smartphones and tablets, a fact which obviously makes them reticent to use their devices fully.
If that's the case then it's time to review how you can keep a cap on expenditure but allow your workers enough data to do their job on the go and to the best of their ability.
It's up to you, as a company, to provide the mobile tools to let your workers fulfil their ability, and a small change in your organisation's culture can deliver this huge benefit.
:: Mark Henry is EE area business manager at BT Business in Northern Ireland