The impact of mobility on the modern workforce cannot be understated—no longer does the average workday involve being tethered to a desk from 9 to 5. Today’s employees are using mobile technology and digital workspaces to establish better work/life integration, improve productivity, and empower themselves to do better work on a schedule that works for them. And the benefit isn’t solely to the employee—the average mobile employee works 240 hours more per year, is 23% more productive and is significantly more engaged and loyal than employees without access to mobile solutions.
Yet despite the obvious benefits of a mobile-enabled workforce, and the fact that we’re many years into the mobile revolution, many businesses are still inexplicably playing catch-up when it comes to how they’re empowering their employees to work on their terms. Landline phones and desktop computers still rule the American workplace at a ratio of 2 to 1, and 80% of companies require work to be done on a desktop computer; this, unsurprisingly, is leading to reduced productivity and lessened engagement from employees, as well as inefficient and outdated business processes that have endured since the era of pen and paper
Businesses are only as good as their employees—and as the competition to attract and retain the best possible staff has ramped up, businesses are learning that one of the best ways to do just that is to provide employees with flexibility around how and when they work via mobile and digital workspace solutions.
Consider: nearly a full quarter of employees have left a job because of a commute. One study found that adding a mere 20 minutes to the length of a commute made employees as unhappy as taking a 19% pay cut. Considering that the average commute in the U.S. is 50 minutes, that’s a lot of unhappy employees.
Thanks to cloud-based solutions like Microsoft Sharepoint, mobile development tools like Microsoft PowerApps, and mobile device management tools like Microsoft Intune, organizations can provide employees with the option of skipping the commute entirely—accessing all of the business apps they require to work successfully, wherever they are.
Stop, Collaborate and Listen
For many organizations, ‘collaboration’ translates directly to ‘drag as many people as possible into a one-hour meeting that half the attendees are just working throughout anyways’—again, a byproduct of the bygone era of 9-5 office work.
Efficient organizations understand that asynchronous collaboration and communication, powered by cloud applications, are the way forward. For one, they minimize interruptions to employees, allowing them to work uninterrupted on projects for a long period. This sounds innocuous enough, but the cost of interruptions on employee productivity and efficiency is estimated to be a staggering $588 billion a year. In fact, it takes employees, on average, 25 minutes to get back into the flow of things
Effective collaboration and communication no longer have to be done in person—in fact, the inverse is often true. Thanks to chat apps like Microsoft Teams, individuals, departments, and business units can communicate necessary information in real-time or asynchronously, providing an opportunity to share information and drive projects forward without ever holding a single meeting. Best of all, these sessions are all indexed and searchable—no ‘note taker’ required.
With Office 365 and OneDrive, documents can be shared, versioned, edited, and commented on—allowing employees to collaborate on project plans, writing assignments, presentations, budgets, and more—automatically tracking all changes and ensuring versioning is correct. This offers unparalleled peace of mind to document owners when making that board presentation, press release submission, or budget request.
Arming employees with the data they require to make the best possible decision is tantamount in this day and age—luckily, it no longer requires a desktop dashboard to figure out. A recent study found that approximately two-thirds of CIOs and business users report that making apps available and accessible is very important to accelerating decision making within their companies, and firms with accessible apps believe that their decision making has been accelerated by over 16%. Mobile ERP systems not only help deliver the relevant data to field employees when they need it, but it can help minimize downtime (or eliminate it entirely).
Cloud-first ERP solutions (such as Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations) not only boost employee productivity by empowering employees to work wherever they are, it also empowers businesses to automate business processes (such as sales and marketing automation) when they’re able to, ensuring that employees are able to be more productive in the areas where it matters most.
The Engagement Game
A wide body of work now supports the idea of allowing employees to work non-traditionally—whether that be from home, remotely, or on a flexible schedule, some or all of the time. This can be a double-edged sword in terms of employee engagement and productivity; for example, 2 out of 3 employees have reported working on vacation. However, workers with flexible schedules or working arrangements report feeling more engaged and productive, and in Gallup’s seminal State of the American Workplace, they found that the highest reported employee engagement was among staff that worked remotely 3 to 4 days a week.
‘Engagement’ is all fine and well—but as a business leader, you’re probably wondering ‘what’s the impact to my bottom line?’ For starters, companies with an engaged employee base saw an average of 4% higher sales growth compared to an average company. An engaged employee takes, on average, 3.5 fewer sick days per year than unengaged employees. And, most staggering of all, businesses can expect a 51% reduction in employee turnover, a 57% decrease in absenteeism, and a 41% increase in customer satisfaction when possessing an engaged employee base. All of these factors can have a massive impact on your business’ profitability, and the ability to enable employees to work wherever they are has been proven to be a big piece of the employee engagement puzzle.
Mobile and cloud-first tools are empowering a tectonic shift in where, when, and how work is completed, to the boon of businesses and employees alike, and this trend is only set to continue in the coming years. Start setting your business up for success by implementing the tools you need to mobilize and modernize your workforce today with OnActuate. We have helped many customers make a move to a more digitally enabled and productive workforce. Our mobile solution and digital workspace consultants are available to help you plan and execute a mobile strategy for your business.