A recent survey (July 2010) of some 1,100 mobile employees showed that nearly 97% of them carry two or more mobile devices, and almost 50% carry three or more. The most popular mobile devices are laptops, followed by smartphones and cell phones. That's a significant budget allocation for any company, large or small. The same survey indicated that while 55% of employees were working from home, they were doing so less than two times a month. Are we truly using the tools available to us to our best advantage?
For any size business, there are affordable, efficient and safe ways to work from home - or anywhere for that matter. Here are some tips to make your business mobility as productive and cost-effective as possible:
1. Employ a hosted PBX (private branch exchange) with VOIP. Using secure technology that allows telephone calls to be made over computer networks provides you and your employees the ability to work from home or on the road with the same capabilities as in the office. It can also save on time and money. Primus Hosted PBX for instance, an efficient and scalable phone system that eliminates the cost of owning and servicing an expensive PBX, makes it simple. For a minimal capital investment, you get predictable monthly fees, telecom experts that handle updates and upgrades for you, and the option to add new users without new wiring or expensive upgrades.
2. Tap into cloud computing. This allows you to have all your files stored and instantly accessible offsite by you and your mobile staff. No matter where you are, you can access, create, update, and share files - allowing all your company's laptops out there to be put to full and convenient use. With Primus' PrimusCloud™ Server for example, you are able to reduce hardware, physical infrastructure and operational costs by leveraging Primus' virtual platform.
3. Utilize anytime web conferencing. The more mobile we become, the less often we get together face-to-face with our staff, suppliers, prospects and customers. Web conferencing puts you in the driver's seat. You control what your participants see and hear while, at the same time, you can collaborate with your project team in real time. In addition, you can add PowerPoint, Excel or Word documents to your customer presentations or even conduct a web tour.
There are some caveats to consider when increasing your mobile work time. International Data Corporation (IDC) recently estimated that 70% or more of companies' data now resides in some form on mobile devices, but, some three out of four organizations lack comprehensive formalized policies for dealing with mobile devices and data. Yet, with some careful planning, the negatives can actually become productivity positives. Here's how:
4. Safely back up files. If fire or theft of your computer would grind your business to a halt, or if important data is stored with an off-site employee, then consider remote and automatic back-up systems. Simple solutions like Primus' RAPIDRETRIEVE, a comprehensive and affordable online data backup and storage solution which simplifies the backup, recovery, and remote access to your files, allows you to easily and automatically backup and retrieve files on your and your employees' computers to a remote backup server located in our secure Internet Data Centre.
5. Ensure fast disaster recovery. Having a mobile workforce can actually make disaster recovery and business continuity easier and faster than it is for businesses operating in single locations. There are numerous Primus Business Services that keep companies' websites, servers, and mission critical applications connected and secure. And Primus Hosted PBX gives everyone the option of working at home in case of disaster.
And finally, remember the human factor. We will never fully utilize all the technology available to us if we disregard workspace requirements and the need to be out in the world sometimes.
6. Make your home-office setting comfortable, ergonomic, and pleasant. We can't affect the comfort level of an airport lounge or taxi, but we can control our own piece of the world. And if you're the type of worker who can do everything from home - make sure you leave your nest now and again, whether it be to grab a cup of coffee at your local diner or meet up with colleagues or suppliers face-to-face now and again to talk about non-specific company issues.