As technology evolves a number of workplace practices have become less relevant or require an altogether new approach. Traditionally, work and home are two different environments that don’t mix. However, does this still apply in the 21st century? Take mobile working for instance. Once the preserve of employees in the field or senior management, developments in telecommunications and network technology have allowed an extra degree of flexibility in how we approach working practices.
For many, this translates as being able to work from home or on the move. Does this mean we can wave goodbye to the office? Not quite yet… Mobile working may sound like an appealing idea but it’s not devoid of its own challenges. Working from home carries a number of risks that both employers and employees should be aware of. Health and safety aside, lack of social contact can lead to disengagement and loss of productivity. A poorly coordinated team is also prone to generate duplicate work amongst other inefficiencies.
The key to successful mobile working is maintaining a sense of discipline on the side of the employee. For the employer the challenge is to keep the employee engaged and aware of his or her role within the team.
What can entrepreneurs expect from adopting a more flexible approach to work? According to David D’Souza, Head of London at the CIPD, one of the main benefits is increased productivity. Other aspects include savings in office space as well as lowering the impact of random events such as travel disruption etc. (Check David’s interview here).
For anyone in a position of leadership, maintaining clear and frequent contact is essential. Creating a two-way channel will allow free flow of information between both sides. One of the effects is an increase in engagement from the employee.
Mobile working is here to stay and what’s more, there is no standard way of managing this new practice. As David D’Souza mentions in our Q&A, “speak to other businesses that are already doing it and find out how they make it work for them. Standards such as PAS 3000 Smart Working can provide some useful best-practice guidance. And remember that mobile working might not work for every organisation or employee”.