Maybe we aren’t all sipping lattes on the beach yet, but it’s clear that the workforce of the future is mobile. Employees are no longer tied to a single desk, office, building or even one city. Many global companies tout the ability for employees to work in different countries, while organizations of all sizes are increasingly realizing that it doesn’t matter where their people work, as long as everything gets done.
With a few notable exceptions , more and more companies are embracing the value of flexible workforces. According to Gallup, more than 40% of U.S. workers do their jobs remotely at least part of the time—and that number is constantly growing.
At this point, the benefits of providing flexibility are well known: employees have the opportunity to find their ideal work-life balance so they can stay satisfied in their work, while employers can reduce a wide range of expenses related to the old one-person-per-desk standard.
But what about the challenges? It may be easier for employees to plan doctors’ appointments or pick up the kids from school, but it’s also easier for them to lose track of working time and day-to-day responsibilities. Disengagement is also a greater risk when employees have the option to work from their couch or in bed. Let’s look at three ways employers can keep their mobile workers productive.
Make it Easy to Come into the Office for an Hour or a Day
With all the hype around employees working at home or in coffee shops, you might have forgotten that sometimes team members want to be at the office. Sensitive conversations or big group decisions are often still better to resolve in person. Even when employees are only working in small groups or pairs, it can be beneficial to meet at a quiet, reserved workspace for an hour or two, rather than working separately or exchanging a emails and documents back and forth all day.
Workers won’t come in if they’re worried about being able to find a suitable space for the task at hand. Ideally, they should be able to view workspace availability from their phone or computer, and quickly book a meeting room or other area for the time they need it. This will encourage them to utilize office space while giving them the flexibility to work where they’ll make the most effective use of time.
Provide Tools for Effective Communication and Collaboration
When it’s not practical for everyone to be in the same room for a meeting, you can still take steps to make it feel like everyone is present. This could mean setting up a video feed for remote workers, or more simply, setting up a shared document so everyone can literally be “on the same page” during a conference call. The ability for team members to look at the same information and discuss specific details in real time helps maintain that feeling of joint effort and responsibility.
This also helps prevent individuals from becoming disengaged during collaborative meetings or projects. Given the ongoing employee engagement crisis , it’s essential to make sure everyone at least has the tools they need to participate.
Simplify Mobile Tracking and Reporting of Work Hours
Another potential reason for declining productivity is that employees don’t have managers and coworkers watching them during the day. Whether it’s an extra-long lunch or distractions around the house, time can really start to fly when employees are working outside the office.
Providing simple time and attendance tools helps employees monitor their performance and maintain an effective schedule. These are very important functions whether workers are at home or anywhere else that lacks the structure of a formal 9-to-5 office job.
Manage Your Remote Workers More Efficiently
Asure Software provides the full range of tools you need to keep mobile workers engaged and productive. Our comprehensive mobile workforce management tools include everything from meeting room booking to mobile timeclocks—giving you and your team members all the capabilities required to stay focused and productive in the mobile work environment.