lundi 28 mai 2012

Mobile workers: a fairytale existence?

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Posted by: | Date: March 26th, 2012 Once upon a time, a mobile or remote worker was out of sight, out of mind. These days you can’t afford that sort of fairytale existence. With an increasing number of employees working outside of the traditional office environment, the quality of communications experience these workers have is critical to their productivity.
The definition of the “mobile worker” is being expanded all the time. It’s not just “road warriors” out meeting clients. With the Europe-wide flexible working directive, many more employees are spending at least part of the week working from home. And even office-based workers spend part of their working day working remotely, whether that’s before the daily commute, whilst in transit or when they get home at night and have put the kids to bed.
Their mobile workplaces are diversifying. According to the iPass Mobile Workforce Report 2011, 47% of mobile workers worked from home daily and 99% occasionally, 88% worked on the road and 84% from a coffee shop or similar. Even when at work, the traditional deskbound employee is a thing of the past, and organizations with large campuses or multiple sites can find getting hold of people when they’re moving around difficult.
Our survey of IT decision makers actually underplays the issue – with the majority of respondents saying it’s easy or fairly easy to communicate with employees when they are working remotely. But that brings us back to the quality of communications. It may well be easy to get hold of remote workers – after all, everyone carries a mobile phone nowadays – but what’s the nature of that interaction? If you just want to ask someone who’s on their way into work where they left a file that you want access to, that might work. But what if you need to hold a meeting with the remote employee or share a file that you’re both working on?
According to the iPass report, the majority (76%) of mobile workers used their smartphone for work, 38% mostly for work. But the same report, which is a quarterly survey of 3,700 mobile employees worldwide, found that technology was the biggest barrier to mobile working.
Smart mobile communications connects together the geographically diverse organization and enables rich mobile interactions. It extends many of the functions of the office Unified Communications system to the remote worker, from basic connectivity to video conferencing and sophisticated messaging.
It also brings down the cost of managing those mobile employees by routing calls and messages through the office system. In fact, in a virtual office set-up remote workers can seem just the same as office-bound workers, and with careful management of the security set-up, can share the same access rights and functionality as their colleagues.
All of this helps keep what is an increasingly physically diverse organisation connected together. Now that’s a fairytale worth telling.

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