“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change” – Stephen Hawking
Mobile working, also known as remote working, is the process of employees carrying out their work duties away from the usual office place. Some mobile workers, like sales managers for example, spend their working day travelling to meetings only docking in at the central office hub when absolutely required. Other workers may work from home if they don’t need to be in the office every day, or live some distance from the office. This makes the need for portable devices, such as mobile phones and laptops, a necessity.
With global business patterns constantly changing, the need for companies to adapt to business environments is vital. With this, an increasing number of businesses have recognised the need to change and have evolved to offer the option of mobile working. In the UK, some of the most renowned and largest companies, in both the private and public sector, covering a plethora of industries, have committed to a pledge offering flexible working rights allowing employees to partake in the idea of mobile working.
There are a few misconceptions surrounding mobile working. The idea of an employee working out of the office, either from home or on the go, may give someone used to a more traditional working environment the impression of a reduction in productivity. Communication worries are also evident due the inability for colleagues to communicate face-to-face and, instead, most conversation has to be made via email and telephone or video calls.
In spite of these concerns surrounding working remotely, there are a number of benefits for employers, employees and clients. Firstly, by investing in remote working, there could be a reduction in office costs. By having fewer workers in the office, companies can make savings in a number of areas including rental space, maintenance costs, office supplies and office furniture.
With a mobile work force, companies can hire staff from a larger pool of people. If a business required its staff to be in the office 9-5 Monday to Friday, they would ideally hire someone within a reasonable distance from the office. However, adopting a mobile work force allows businesses to choose from a wider cross-section of talent. You don’t want to miss out on a potential talent just because they live too far away.
Employees can also benefit from mobile working. The London School of Economics claims that remote workers have fewer distractions. To back this up, a survey from Microsoft in 2015 stated that 45% of employees who work from home felt they had fewer distractions. In addition, it is claimed employees work longer hours because of the time saved from commuting.
Employee happiness and productivity increases amongst remote workers and a happy work force is vital to any business. Research shows that being trusted to work remotely gives staff a boost of morale as they feel empowered. This helps improve productivity as staff can sometimes feel they need to repay back the faith shown in them by their employers, thus leading to an improvement in staff loyalty, further leading to a reduction in staff turnover. Mobile working can also help boost relations with customers as there is no longer a need for them to come to you for meetings; a remote sales force is where ever your customers are.
The rise of mobile working is in no small part down to the constant advancement of technology. Staff no longer have to be in the office to stay connected to colleagues. The introduction of 4G makes it easy to access the internet for vital emails wherever you may be and if your company allows it, you can be set up to reach a specific network/drive. The continuing development of smart phones and tablets allows employees to work on the go easily. Without these technological breakthroughs, remote working wouldn’t be what it is today.
With the rapid growth and abundant number of benefits surrounding mobile working, is it time all businesses embrace this strategy? The office culture will never die; businesses will always need a heart, the vocal point to co-ordinate and manage colleagues and work strategies but that doesn’t mean businesses don’t need to adapt to modern trends and offer more traditional working practises. By embracing mobile working with the appropriate technology, companies can improve productivity, staff happiness, improve client relations and, most importantly, thrive in a modern businesses environment. Businesses have a choice; they can learn to adapt and evolve, or face the risk of being left behind.