By now, everyone knows how important it is for a business to be mobile. Nearly three quarters of the total US workforce will be mobile in the next five years, totaling approximately 105.4 million mobile workers by 2020. And for businesses, the increasing affordability of smartphones and tablets, the growing acceptance of bring your own device (BYOD) policies, and constant innovations in mobile technologies – from wearables, near field communications (NFC) and augmented reality – mean that working on-the-go has truly become the norm.
But going mobile can present some challenges too. It’s relatively easy to communicate with people when everyone is in one location, but not always top of mind to do when people aren’t physically in the office. And when you’re not able to see your work colleagues every day, it can also be difficult to track the amount of work they complete. The American Payroll Association (APA) estimates that almost 75 percent of US businesses are affected by “time theft” – when employees are paid for time they have not actually worked, either by having someone else clock in for them or by inaccurately recording their hours.
For managers, this becomes a delicate balancing act in striking the right balance between effective leadership and employee trust. As more companies hire and equip their employees with the tools to effectively work while on the go, how can your business ensure that you get the most from mobile operations so that teams are empowered, motivated and productive?
Mobility, not mistrust
Fortunately, there is software that exists that means that you don’t need to worry about micromanaging your employees. At Replicon, we’re focused on a mobile-first approach. We are an Apple mobility partner, part of an exclusive ecosystem of enterprise technology vendors including Box and DocuSign that work directly with Apple to continue to accelerate iOS adoption in the enterprise – and foster a richer experience for users by ensuring that all apps are compatible with each other. Replicon’s mobile app, also available for Android users, captures time and expense-related information in seconds, and helps businesses book time off, approve timesheets, time off requests and expenses, as well as transfer data to payroll for instant processing.
The idea of filling in timesheets can seem like an arduous task, however if utilized effectively, it can be a comprehensive solution that gives deep insights for people on how they are spending their time, whether they need additional support for a particular activity or project, and overall profitability and efficiency. Xoomworks, a professional services firm with several offices in Europe, was able to help its employees improve the accuracy of its project estimates to clients based on this time data – as well as improve workforce management, increase invoice turnaround times by 30-40 percent, and maintain high levels of client satisfaction.
And remember clocking in to a shift on a hard-wired time clock? We see these as the devices of yesteryear. Clunky and expensive, we pioneered – and patented – Replicon CloudClock, which transforms an ordinary tablet – such as an iPad – into a powerful cloud-based time clock that makes punching in fast and easy. CloudClock utilizes NFC, magnetic stripe or QR codes for people to easily clock in for a shift, automatically taking a photo of who is logging in to deter the prevalent and multi-million dollar time theft issue. Replicon customer Ropes Courses uses CloudClock, with employees making goofy faces in front of the camera for a bit of fun.
Mobilizing your workforce
If there’s one key to managing an effective mobile workforce, it’s remembering that just because these employees aren’t in the office, it shouldn’t mean that they are out of sight and out of mind. Where possible, employees who aren’t office-bound should be integrated into the office culture and come into the office at regular intervals.
People collaborate best when they have personal connections with their peers – and technologies abound to support the need for better ideation, strategy, planning and activity updates. Central to that is software that can capture critical information on time, resources and projects – and evaluate how to optimize all functions of the business so that operations are productive and profitable.
What technologies are you using to enable a productive and mobile workforce? We’d love to hear from you.