From the biggest businesses to the smallest, the way we work has radically changed. While we may work just as long as ever before, no longer does that work have to happen in an office or at a desk. With smartphones, tablets, laptops and a WiFi connection or at least 3G service, work can and does happen wherever it’s most for convenient for the employees at hand.
This is a fact many companies have tried to ignore, as mobile devices bring with them a variety of headaches, from a lack of control over platforms to less than ideal ergonomics and an associated slew of healthcare costs. But like it or not, the mobile age is here; the question is, how will your company embrace and support mobile workers? Here are 3 key ways to do just that.
1. Clarify Your BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Policy
For all but industries requiring the utmost security, the days of restricting employees to a Blackberry are over. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave the wide world of possible work devices open to employees. Instead, limiting them simply to certain Android and Apple models should give you some measure of control.
In addition to the device itself, it’s important to clarify how the device will be used. You may, for example, want to create work and personal profiles on the devices, and allow remote wiping of the work section should it be lost or stolen or should the employee leave the company.
Lastly, employees should know just how much support you’ll provide for all devices, and who will pay for what. For a far more in-depth look into this pressing topic, we highly recommend this excellent guide to developing a BYOD policy in CIO.
2. Choose Your Cloud Tools
With both a BYOD policy and mobile working in general, your company will do best when it’s got a number of cloud tools at its disposal, so that employees can access all of their work and collaborate with colleagues wherever they are. For some companies, this might mean more secure access through a VPN. Alternatively, programs like Dropbox and Google Drive present an easy way to store files and limit access to the relevant employees. What’s more, the companies that produce this software are largely responsible for keeping it compatible with new devices, taking the onus off of your IT department to bridge the divide between a wide array of platforms.
Of course, this is just a cursory look at the cloud tools you’ll need for today’s workplace. This article in PC Mag lists the benefits of 20 more to get you going.
3. Adopt Mobile Ergonomics
Perhaps most importantly of all, as your company goes increasingly mobile, it’s times to fully embrace the principles of mobile ergonomics. Mobile devices, after all, are built more for convenience than with the human body in mind. Tiny keyboards and attached screens require precise movements and lead to neck craning and back hunching. A lack of tactile feedback in keyboards often encourages employees to exert far too much pressure as they type, putting further strain on their unsupported wrists and hands.
All of this, however, is easily fixed with a number of mobile peripherals. A lightweight tablet and laptop stand will instantly raise a screen to the proper level, and when it’s paired with a mobile keyboard and mouse, employees will have a comfortable and safe way of working no matter where they are. Of course, such accessories are best paired with a little education, guiding employees towards more ergonomic working positions and encouraging them to take breaks and move around to stretch their muscles and increase blood flow.
The mobile age brings countless benefits to the workplace, enabling employees to work more conveniently from just about anywhere in the world. The risks far outweigh the costs, just as long as you take a few steps to better the experience.
How does your company support your comfort in the workplace and beyond? Let us know in the comments below.