Given the upside of mobile and remote working, it is surprising that firms can still put up barriers to these arrangements, be they technical, logistical and cultural. A survey by Forrester showed just 13% of information workers believe their company encourages them to work remotely.
From a technical point of view, IT managers have an array of tools to support staff on the move and working away from the office. As well as the remote access to PC support, mobile devices and apps need consideration.
February’s Mobile World Congress was dominated by two things – funky new phones and tablets and major advances in mobile management technologies. Symantec, for example, released an updated version of its Norton 360 desktop and mobile security software, with a new licensing arrangement for combined PC, Mac and Android use.
Similarly, Amtel has published a web-based mobile device management services which support both iOS and Android devices and is free.
But remote working requires backing from a range business departments for it to work. Leaving it to IT alone risks entrenching negative attitudes still further.
Firstly, a suspicion still lingers among managers that remote workers are less productive. They need training to integrate collaborative software with their day-to-day routine, as do those working away from the office. This in turn could require a formal process from HR.
Saving office space might require hot-desking from those back at base. It needs to be managed carefully. Meeting spaces should accommodate remote workers when they attend face-to-face meetings, so whoever manages real estate and facility management may need to know.
Businesses should take departmental interactions into account when creating a process for supporting remote employees. Working through the issues on a case-by-case basis risks making them feel a burden and their managers feel it is wasting resources. That’s not the best way to start an arrangement which should ultimately benefit all concerned.