Workforces are going mobile and there’s not much that businesses can do to stop it. Embrace the change by ensuring everything is in place to enable mobile working, from the hardware to the security to the processes.
Get the right equipment
It may sound obvious, but equipping your workers with the right hardware is the first step to a more productive mobile workforce. Whether a business provides the devices or lets workers choose their own, it’s vital that the devices enable workers to be flexible and productive.
Increasingly, businesses are seeing the value in both hybrid devices – laptops with a detachable screen that doubles as a tablet (see Lenovo’s ThinkPad Helix range) – and convertibles (ThinkPad Yoga), with a 360° keyboard-to-touchscreen flexibility. It’s the best of both worlds: a laptop for when employees feel the need for a more PC-like experience, and a tablet (or tablet functionality) for the rest of the time.
Mobile workers can sometimes feel disconnected from the business, so it’s important to ensure they can get in touch with other staff members when they need to. Email may not be the most convenient way of doing this, so consider running collaboration software as well. This can include chat and messaging functions, document and file sharing and will help mobile workers stay up to date with their colleagues and their work.
With increased mobility comes increased risk. Sensitive data is no longer kept within the boundaries of the office, so companies need to revamp their security infrastructure to ensure risk is minimised.
Mobile device management (MDM) should offer features such as remote wiping and encryption. Getting workers to use a VPN when using a public internet connection adds another layer of security to any sensitive information being worked on. Also key is ensuring that policies are in place for the protection of data and devices, and that all workers are fully aware of them before becoming mobile.
It’s no use letting employees work remotely – whether it’s from home or somewhere more public, such as a coffee shop – if they can’t access the applications, documents and data they need. But the processes have to be in place to ensure that employees only access what they need to. If they can only access certain files, folders, applications and so on when in the office, that same policy should be extended to cover their remote working as well.
Head to the cloud
Harnessing the power of cloud computing is vital to getting the most out of your mobile workforce. Using applications in the cloud reduces the need for workers to install applications or other software on their devices. It also means updates, upgrades and patches can be rolled out whenever needed, and users don’t need to worry about updating their devices. It really is anywhere, anytime working.
Cloud computing is great for collaboration as well; disparate workers can access shared content that is stored in the cloud, and any updates or changes will be automatically saved and synced.