Create Opportunities for CollaborationThe first step to maintaining productivity is maintaining "soft" tools. These include that feeling of being part of the team, overall company culture and teamwork. All of these are driven by effective communication. In a physical office, employees bump into each other in the breakroom, in the restroom, at the water cooler and in scheduled meetings. All kinds of impromptu brainstorming can happen when great minds happen to pass by and feel the need to bounce an idea off their colleague. Those opportunities just don't happen in the virtual world. So, you must create them. It's easy for team members to live in their own world, and not communicate. To remain productive, team members must over-communicate. Create opportunities to "chat" both formally and informally. In addition to regularly scheduled meetings, have a chat room for each team that is always open. Team members can jump in anytime, see who's available to chat or post an idea for later discussion. Use a mobile system that encourages collaboration. Software designed for mobile teams offers instant feedback on projects, quick and easy messaging, real-time access to schedules and project updates. Additionally, an engaging technology that allows employees to video chat or creating short videos that can be watched at a time convenient for the other team members. This approach is especially effective when team members work in different time zones. In addition to work-related communication, some organisations also set up a company-wide chat for informal communication. It creates a "water cooler" scenario where employees can feel socially connected to each other. For formal meetings, utilize tools that make collaboration easy. For example, Intel's Unite technology is being used by Lenovo for its Smart Meeting Room. This tool allows users to easily log in with a PIN, connect wirelessly to a variety of different display platforms and showcase up to four presentations at once. All participants can share and annotate content while connecting to displays, projectors or interactive whiteboards.
Improve communications with these three tips:
- Set expectations. Set a process for what method of communication works best in differing circumstances. For example, email is okay for non-pressing issues. While VOIP or video chat might be best for an urgent matter. Sent guidelines for how often email, text and non-live chat messages should be checked. Employees shouldn't be expected to respond 24/7. However, they should understand that certain expectations exist around checking for messages when you are part of a mobile workforce.
- Establish check-in schedules. When projects are started, include check-in points at certain intervals. Find regular overlapping times for employees working in different time zones. These might be set up as certain phases have finished, after important client meetings or simply by the calendar to ensure everyone is on task.
- Don't forget training. Schedule training and other development opportunities that mobile employees can participate in, even if it is via video, conference call or an interactive online tool. Consistently offering professional development opportunities keeps team members engaged, helps them feel valued and keeps them part of the team.
Leverage Device Versatility
Make Security a PriorityNothing stifles productivity like a security breach. Unfortunately, your mobile users are often the target of cybercriminals. Consider just some statistics from a 2017 report that illustrate the vulnerabilities of mobile workers.
- 35 per cent of communication sent via mobile devices is not encrypted.
- Mobile devices connect to an average of 160 unique IP address every day.
- 43 per cent of mobile users do not use a passcode to lock their device.
- Business apps are three times more likely to leak log-in credentials than your average app.
- 50 per cent of apps with five to 10 million downloads include some kind of security flaw.
- Awareness is key. Define a realistic security strategy, and include it in your mobile workforce's training. Emphasise specific vulnerabilities your workforce is exposed to.
- Empower the employee. Help your mobile workers know they are part of the solution. Explain how using multi-factor authentication is helpful. Set up automated alerts to go to the employee. Geolocation sends a red flag when someone logs in from a suspicious location. Since mobile workers know where they've been, have them receive and monitor these.
- Monitor. Monitor. Empowering the employee doesn't mean solely relying on them for monitoring. Use an intrusion detection or endpoint detection system to spot any erratic behaviour.
- Track your mobile assets. Use a software solution to keep inventory. Devices get lost and stolen. Keep tabs on what you have and where they are. Have a contingency plan for what to do when a device goes missing.
Contact us for more trends affecting your business. And read more about keeping up with this trend by downloading our "Guide to DigitalTransformation" e-book.