Mobile workers are increasing within the work place, with one in seven people now working from home within their full time roles. Kieran Saunders, senior business solutions consultant, FileMaker examines if businesses really have the tools to support the productivity of a mobile workforce? If not, where do they start?
The Economist recently found the best way to ensure employees are “engaged” is to give them more control over where and how they do their work. So it is no surprise that one in seven people now work from home within their full time roles.
Meanwhile even those who are primarily office-based regularly have to travel for work, yet also must stay connected to their workplace when they do so. It has therefore become a necessity for businesses to ensure employees are able to work efficiently and effectively when they aren’t in the office.
However, do businesses have the tools to support the productivity of a mobile workforce? If not, where do they start?
Understanding business teams
Relying on cumbersome spreadsheets can no longer support today’s mobile employees. Business teams now both want and need to work in a more agile way and this will accelerate even further as the digitally-savvy ‘millennials’ enter the workforce.
Therefore, business leaders need to understand how their teams are working today, and also how they will be working in the future.
Do they have structure? How do you create a sense of shared culture? Do they work on laptops, or are they working from a tablet or smart phone, or both? By understanding how a team works and what tools are needed to help support the teams businesses can implement the correct mobility strategy. Choosing a software platform that enables businesses to develop their solutions once and then deploy them to multiple devices and operating systems helps them to support their business requirements.
Many businesses are moving away from off-the-shelf software and applications, choosing instead to create their own custom apps. Customisation is allowing businesses to create software specifically tailored to their own needs.
Off-the-shelf software often seems the most cost effective approach at the outset, because the initial purchase is usually at a lower financial outlay. However, if it doesn’t suit the business’s exact needs, which is near to impossible, then a far higher price will be paid in the long run, through ineffective workflows or post project customisation that is outside of the initial budget. Therefore investing in software and apps that can be customised from the start will deliver a far greater return and equip the business for future growth, adapting with business objectives as they change.
This advantage is multiplied when the customisable application is a low code platform. Low code platforms make it easy for citizen developers to create highly useful and powerful custom apps without a deep knowledge of coding. By using a low code platform, businesses can achieve a high speed of development, low cost and increased ability to meet unique needs that will benefit and empower teams to be more proactive.
BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, which allows employees to use their own device for work purposes, continues to have a place to play in many businesses.
BYOD initiatives are often preferred by employees as they are able to use a device they are comfortable with. Meanwhile businesses can benefit by reducing the costs involved in rolling out corporate devices to all employees.
However, many businesses have fallen short of realising the true benefits of BYOD by starting and stopping at the device implementation phase. Businesses need to have a true understanding of the full picture of BYOD and what is required of their mobility software on these devices to deliver efficiency to employees.
Does the mobile app work on different devices? Does it support mobile browsers? What security is in place in case the device is lost or stolen? Can employees access the data offline?
If businesses can take these considerations into account, they will be able to understand how mobility can support the modern employee in getting the job done. This will allow organisations to implement the right software for their needs, ensuring they have a flexible, cross-platform and secure system that can be integrated into existing systems. Using customised apps based on the FileMaker Platform might be an opportunity worth looking at.
This will in turn increase business efficiency and ultimately help drive business growth.
By Kieran Saunders
Senior business solutions consultant