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Making the Most of a Mobile Workstyle

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The world’s mobile workforce is quite literally on the move. According to Strategy Analytics, it will reach 1.75 billion by 2020. Or, to put it another way, by the end of the decade some 42% of the global workforce will be mobile.

The recent ShoreTel “Building a Better Meeting” survey paints a mixed picture of mobility across Asia. For example, most Singaporeans are still office-bound. Over half don’t spend any time working outside of the office, and only a third spend between 1-7 days per month working outside the office.

Hong Kong, on the other hand, has a highly mobile workforce, with 83% of workers spending at least one day outside of the office per month and just over a fifth (21%) spending more than 8 days out of the office.

When it comes to meetings, the situation in Singapore and Australia are similar. Nearly two thirds of people in each market meet face-to-face in a conference room. Very few, only 13% and 15% respectively, use communications tools from their desks and 10% or less of respondents in both markets use these communication tools remotely. The situation is slightly different in Hong Kong, where just under a half of respondents meet in person, and over a quarter (28%) use communication tools.

Keep it simple

The march towards mobility and the uptake in communications tools sounds great. However, it can also give businesses a reason to consider the impact it will have on their operations. The fact is, there is much more to adopting a successful mobile workstyle than just letting employees use their mobile phones.

Implementing a solid unified communications solution is an excellent start. But, to take full advantage of the productivity benefits that mobility can offer, your business must identify and roll out meaningful applications that people can use efficiently on-the-move.

These days mobile applications can replicate almost anything that employees can do on their office desktop or laptop. But, that doesn’t mean you should. It’s usually best to mobilize simpler tasks first. Then you can consider finding ways to make more complex operations as simple as possible on-the-go.

For example, some tasks, like sitting in on teleconferences, are ideal for the mobile world. Checking email is also easy, and most people do it all the time. But … I almost never REPLY to email from my mobile, because there’s a good chance I will miskey something. In any case, composing messages longer than a few sentences is a chore on most phones.

Offload work and save money

Many tasks are also easy to do on the go. I do most of that work on my mobile phone whenever I have a few minutes to spare – whether it’s in the back of taxis or waiting for planes in airports.

With ShoreTel Connect for iOS (formerly known as Mobility), I can easily place calls, attend conferences or share documents, anytime and anywhere, simply by pressing “Join” ShoreTel. There is no need to key in any other numbers, like the utterly annoying conference PIN code. What’s more, it hooks up with the least costly network – whether that is free WiFi or roaming cellular data.

The results speak for themselves. Although I travel two weeks out of every month, and spend an average of two hours a day on international calls, I have managed to cut my mobile phone bill by about 80 per cent, compared with what I had to pay before switching to ShoreTel Connect for mobile devices.

Pinning down performance dividends

That’s really what mobility comes down to – making things easy. And taking a simple-tasks-first approach can pay huge productivity dividends.

For someone like me, in charge of an Asia-wide business and travelling all the time, giving up my ability to work on the move could cost me anything from 10-20% of my productive time. And a lot of that productivity has been created by ShoreTel picking the right tasks to make mobile and implementing suitable apps.

As the Strategy Analytics research shows, I am not alone. And more individuals and organizations are joining the mobility bandwagon every day.

Getting it right has never been more important. The businesses that get it right first, will be the ones to watch as the move towards mobility gathers momentum.

Frederic Gillant Photo

Frederic Gillant  joined ShoreTel in 2014 as vice president and managing director for Asia Pacific. Based in Singapore, Gillant leads ShoreTel’s go-to-market strategy across Asia Pacific managing the sales, channels, marketing and sales operations for the region. Other recent articles by Frederic are listed below:

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