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How to Enable Remote & Mobile Working in Your Business
Remote and mobile working – where an employee is working outside the traditional office environment – have become increasingly common. The benefits are hard to ignore. Happier employees chasing a work-life balance and increased productivity from employees on-the-go are something most businesses wouldn’t turn their nose up at, writes Neil Doyle from Blueface.
How is working away from the traditional workspaces now possible? And, more importantly, how do you manage practices that are becoming more and more commonplace?
Improvements in communications technology have helped remote and mobile working become reliable enough for larger numbers of employees to take advantage of the benefits. Remote working has been around for a long time; working from home or outside of the office is not a new phenomenon. However, it has become more efficient in recent years.
Mobile working has taken the business world by storm with seemingly every professional now performing at least some of their daily work tasks via a smartphone or tablet.
Why Have Remote and Mobile Working Risen in Popularity?
Improvement in broadband connectivity has allowed for the development of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) – essentially phone calls made over the internet rather than via copper wire in the ground. VoIP is much more flexible than traditional telephony, allowing remote workers to redirect their numbers while out of office with ease or, in some cases, to simply take home their special VoIP-enabled phones and plug them into their own broadband connection.
VoIP is a much more flexible alternative to traditional phone systems and, as it has become more mainstream, remote working has too.
For those working from home or elsewhere without access to a handset, softphones are device applications that mirror the functionality of a handset. After some easy setup, users are able to make inbound and outbound calls over the internet. For those working abroad, softphones over a way around roaming charges.
For mobile working, improvements in mobile networks have been the main enabler. The introduction of 3G, and later 4G, to Ireland and UK allowed mobile users the same level of internet access as desktop users. Sending and receiving files of any type, and using applications no longer meant staring at a loading or buffering icon for prolonged periods.
Cloud-based technology removed the need for applications to be installed on an individual device. Allowing users to access data and business services via the internet has enabled mobile devices to provide the same level of productivity as desktops.
Cloud software and improving mobile networks are the perfect complement, allowing mobile working to flourish.
It wouldn’t be possible, however, without the improvements in smartphones. Super computers are now resident in either our pocket or our hands for most of the day. As processing power has continued to improve, developers have made the most of it by providing employees with cloud-based apps, making the most of what these devices are capable of.
The Process for Managing Remote and Mobile Working
Remote and mobile working are now possible but, for a business, they are quite different from traditional models of work.
As with most things, planning is where to start. Putting a remote and mobile working policy in place, which employees must abide by, will protect the organisation and benefit employees. The policy can address points such as:
- Working hours
- Minimum working requirements.
2. Bring Your Own Device
According to Blueface research, Bring your own device (BYOD) is increasingly becoming the strategy of choice for organisations to enable mobile working. The company does not need to provide every employee with handsets, and maintain them through this strategy. Only SIM cards must be provided to employees.
Security is perhaps the most pressing issue when it comes to working outside of the office. You really should consider adding the following items to your policy:
- An employee should only be allowed to use their own device for work if they have installed the company’s security software on it.
- Use mobile device management (MDM) technology to remotely wipe devices that are lost or stolen.
- Require users of mobile devices for work purposes to update their passwords regularly (at least every 90 days).
- Have a quick method for revoking access to devices remotely where required.
- Require devices to have automatic locking mechanisms if inactive for a period of time and to wipe the data if the password is entered incorrectly a number of times.
- Don’t use third party applications to store sensitive data.
- Remember to revoke access for devices of employees who are no longer with the company.
Written by: Neil Doyle, Marketing Executive, Blueface – unified landline and mobile communications for a smarter business
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