Why Mobile Helps Telecommuters Work Better

Remote work, or telecommuting, is a budding institution in many workplaces, and employers worldwide are grappling with the changes this means for traditional communication practices. They need to adapt a system by which to maintain the interactions levels of the office atmosphere – without the office. Luckily, strides in mobile technology have had a huge impact on the connectivity capabilities of teams and managers, allowing them to stay in touch from virtually any location, anytime. Mobile access provides employees with greater flexibility – they don’t need to be by their desktops to get their jobs done.

Telecommuting is On the Rise

Recent studies show how the trend of remote work is growing. An Inc. magazine survey found that in the US, more than 2 million employees work at least some of the time from outside the office – that’s an rise of more than 60% from 2005. More than half put in more than 40 hours of work a week (greater than non-remote workers!). Plus, the survey continues, telecommuting promotes dual savings: employers do not need to devote physical desk space to employees, and workers save on commute money and time, as well as budgeting for office-appropriate apparel.
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A separate study by ConnectSolutions reported that employees who telecommute are big fans of the trend – almost half get more sleep, 1/3 participate in more physical activities, and over 50% have a better emotional relationship with their work.

More Users Favor Smartphones Over Desktops

As we’ve discussed in the past, personal device usage is growing exponentially, with 4.8 billion people opting in. In the US, mobile phone subscribers jumped 99% (!) from just two years earlier. And by 2014, more people will be logging onto the Internet via their mobile devices than desktops.

Mobile Enhances Remote Access

The rise in satisfaction from telecommuting, coupled with a sharp increase in mobile users with a decreasing propensity towards desktop connectivity, suggests that mobile access can indeed boost communication vis-à-vis remote workers. Three ways organizations can foster this behavior include:

1) Mobile Employee Referral Programs: Primary sources of top talent, referral programs enable remote workers to aid their companies in identifying quality candidates for vacancies. Traditionally managed in the office, mobile-optimized referral programs are available to employees on their schedules. They increase the likelihood of referral submissions, and even equip workers with information about jobs that they can show their friends when they are out-and-about. Since referral programs are based on social interactions, the ease of mobile convenience is a huge boon for telecommuters who are not tethered down by desktop computers. And HR teams can rest assured knowing that telecommuters are staying informed about the open positions. Customized employee referral apps like GooodJob Mobile facilitate these programs.

2) Virtual Meetings: Mobile-optimized tools like GoToMeeting and Google+ Hangouts have transformed the potential of long-distance collaboration between remote workers, allowing them to keep in touch with one another no matter where they are. Plus, extra sharing features means they can send documents, spreadsheets, and links to one another during the “meetings” themselves – ensuring that everybody is on the same page, even if they aren’t physically in the same room.

3) Track Expenses: For internal departments in larger organizations, it can be difficult to keep track of telecommuters who are absent from the office. One way that these employees can help is to report their accrued company expenses on-the-go in a shared program, like Expensify. The benefit of this is that remote workers who work from different locations using different devices can submit their expenses as they arise.

Conclusion

Telecommuting will be a huge element of future workplaces, as employees find themselves less confined to cubicles and increasingly faced with the prospect – and ability – to do their jobs outside of the office. As more organizations encourage a balanced work/life structure for their employees, mobile technology is further enabling this shift. Especially as Millennials, who are most comfortable than any other adult generation with virtual, on-the-go access, continue to surge into the workforce, adoption of mobile is a clear solution to keeping remote workers connected.

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