For many employers, the routine of turning up for work at 9am and finishing at 5.30pm are just part and parcel of what employment is about.
That’s despite the horrendous commuter journeys so many people have to endure. That’s despite the evidence that suggests a fixed nine-to-five routine is not necessarily the best for productivity.
And that’s despite us now having technology which allows an increasingly wide spectrum of jobs to be carried out remotely.
Mobile working is sometimes viewed sceptically for letting people work from home. Some say it risks the employee not being as productive as when working under supervision in an office. But mobile working is just as much about maximising resources through a flexible approach to workforce organisation as it is about compromising with staff on work-life balance.
Instead of asking employees to sit in traffic, wouldn’t it be more productive if they were able to work during that time, even if it was from home?
One of the consequences of mobile working is that it increases the amount of time people are available to work. As well as the commute, what about the time spent to and from meetings – instead of it being dead time on a train, what if a colleague could still answer emails, answer queries or even work on an important document?
What if it meant a better service with staff able to answer out-of-hours queries from the comfort of their own homes?
Mobile working also opens up opportunities to recruit staff from much further afield. Perhaps you identify a high-quality candidate who lives a couple of hours away and is reluctant to take on the travel involved. The option of remote working gives you a carrot to dangle to the best talent in order to get them on board.
The ease of creating a distributed workforce through digital technology also makes it easier to expand your business into new areas. It might, for example, not make economic sense just yet to open a branch office in a new town or region, but what if you could recruit an agent to work there on your behalf, building the brand locally while working from home?
So what are the requirements for such a flexible, mobile approach? We all know that with today’s smartphones, tablets and laptops plus mobile broadband, we can all get online practically anywhere. That is the first condition. But the next step beyond that is to set yourself up with a cloud-based business IT and communications infrastructure.
Unlike on-premises systems run from office-based hardware, the key to cloud computing is remote connection. Hosted desktop, email, IP telephone, file sharing and collaboration services are all accessed via an IP connection, whether public internet or private WAN.
Whether you are in the office, at home or travelling to meetings, everyone connects to the IT system remotely in the Cloud, offering the flexibility to create mobile working options.