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Mobile Workforce Management

Challenges and Demands of Mobile Workforce Management

mobile workforce

The development of new technology and connectivity together with the demographic changes has contributed to boosting the mobile workforce. This type of work has existed for a long time, but in recent years it has widespread to become a must for companies that want to stay up-to-date and retain their employees.

The irruption of the Covid-19 pandemic with major consequences on people’s health worldwide has forced governments of almost all countries to take drastic measures such as the compulsory confinement of the population, preventing individuals from going to their workplaces.

In this context, companies around the world, both small and large-sized, had to respond quickly establishing remote work dynamics, accelerating the adoption of strategies for the mobile workforce and the implementation of tools and technology for mobile workforce management of employees working in different locations. This kind of dynamics presents great challenges for HR and management teams, with many points that must be addressed, from technology to security and respect for standards and compliance of each organization.

What is Mobile Workforce?

Mobile workforce is the group of employees that carry out their tasks outside the company premises thanks to the possibility of remotely accessing the same software, information, data and service applications that would be accessed from headquarters.

Workers use connected devices such as computers and smartphones, and software that allow them to connect, maintain fluid communication with their colleagues, be trackable and accountable for their activities.

With so many advancements and increasingly sophisticated mobile devices, these individuals perform tasks that used to be done from the office.

what is mobile workforce

This activity exceeds what is known as home office to include the entire virtual work segment, that is, people hired to work all the time from their homes using the Internet.

Virtual work is a form of teleworking that in recent years has become very popular for occupations such as:

  • Accountant
  • Business Development Manager
  • Case Manager
  • Consultant
  • Nurse
  • Program Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Recruiter
  • Sales Rep.

 

  • Customer Service Rep.
  • Data Analyst
  • Editor
  • Engineer
  • Medical Coder
  • Teacher / Faculty / Tutor
  • Territory Sales Manager
  • UX/UI Designer
  • Web Developer
  • Writer

Work from Home Workforce

work from home workforce

Mobile workforce refers to individuals that, for different reasons, are not in their physical jobs or enterprise offices but still carry out their daily tasks from wherever they are. It includes both employees who must leave the offices for meetings or travel, as well as regular home working office and those who are hired to work remotely on a permanent basis have never had a desk in the company facilities.

Previously, the mobile workforce was synonymous with work from home, but technology made great leaps with tools such as video conferencing and collaborative mobile workforce applications expanding the definition of remote work. Now, it involves employees who work in the field, virtual or mobile workers, and home office.

How Big is the Mobile Workforce Today?

Technology is increasingly portable, easy to use and accessible the making mobile workforce more prevalent. In the United States alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that mobile workforce would exceed 105 million people representing 72.3% of the nation’s entire workforce in 2020. On a global scale, in 2017 the figure reached 1.52 billion -39.3% of the total workforce- and it is expected to rise to 1.87 billion by 2022 reaching 43%.

Globalization continues to drive the growth of mobile office workers in all regions, as it is increasingly easy to meet the demands of this type of employees from all sectors. In the next years, the greatest growth opportunities will depend on the mobile Internet, which will contribute to new developments in the digital ecosystem.

how big is the mobile workforce today

Demographic changes will increasingly affect working modalities in the future. The so-called digital natives -people born after the 1980’s- are already joining the workforce. They are people used to constant interaction with technology and connectivity who are changing working modalities. The workplace is becoming more customized and collaborative while allowing multiple conversations about online discussions and projects at the same time.

These generations are comfortable with constant connectivity, work from their mobile phones and answer e-mails almost instantly. These behaviors are changing the traditional view of productivity and will continue to change it in the future. For example, office hours will be affected to move to a transparent way to measure the individual worker’s contributions.

At the same time, they are changing the methods of communication demanding smart tools to have support in work processes, create work teams quickly and work outside of companies with apps that guarantee productivity, collaboration and do not jeopardize security.

What is a Mobile Work Environment?

mobile workforce environment

In order for mobile work to be effective, companies are developing new environments that take these new conditions into account. The mobile work environment is the portable workspace that provides access to the applications, files and services that the employee needs to perform their tasks no matter where they are.

The environment is composed of a set of programs and services that allow corporate applications, files and services to be brought to users on any device and through any network. The mobile worker requires access to all the content, both on their devices and on the company’s including PCs, smartphones and tablets.

The mobile work environment includes:

  • Desktop virtualization
  • Application virtualization
  • Mobile device management
  • Mobile application management
  • Enterprise mobility management
  • File sync and share
  • Remote desktop software
  • WAN optimization
  • Collaboration software

Why is the Mobile Workforce Important?

Mobility is no longer discussed in today’s consumer world; it has become a standard. Purchases, travel arrangements, bank movements and content viewing, among other services, are carried out over the Internet and increasingly, from mobile devices. Company employees are also consumers and have the same demands for accessibility, flexibility and convenience in all aspects of their lives, including working hours.

63% of global companies consider mobility to be the most significant factor to gain competitive advantages, while 70% consider it a priority. Moreover, global spending on mobility solutions is expected to reach $1.8 trillion in 2022.

Beyond adapting to the new generations of workers, mobility gives great benefits, both to the company, the employees and the environment.

why mobile workforce important

Among its advantages, the following stand out:

  • It favors less absenteeism, improving productivity.
  • It gives employees flexibility, important to keep them wanting to work better.
  • It saves travel costs.
  • It reduces pollution caused by vehicles in the cities.
  • It improves meeting results.
  • It improves efficiency by using the latest technologies to complete tasks and achieve goals.
  • It provides more instant communication options making it easier to be in contact between employees.
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New Mobile Workforce

new mobile workforce

Every day, new technologies are developed to improve and make remote work more efficient. Tools such as Asana, Slack, Zoom, or Google Calendar facilitate collaboration between the mobile workforce, while IT management works with more innovations such as biometric readers, wearables, voice control, near-field communications, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). All of these are enriching business communications and workflows.

The development of 5G -fast mobile connectivity- enables workers to share heavy files with colleagues and partners and collaborate on video without lag or disruptions. The growth of this technology will help overcome one of the biggest issues: the lack of a wireless signal.

These types of innovations are allowing all companies, both small and large, to start using AR and VR for better forms of communication and collaboration. Workers, meanwhile, learn increasingly complex tasks.

Mobile Workforce Solutions

In this context, it is important that companies have the right tools to keep the business running smoothly. In the market, there are different alternatives of mobile workforce software that allow managers to administrate the workforce logistics for employees that are not centralized in a single location.

Mobile workforce technology creates great benefits for companies, such as access to data and the simplicity of cloud computing, as well as more security and collaboration.

 

Mobile workforce solutions benefits:

mobile workforce solutions
  • Employees can access all the necessary data from anywhere as well as updated information in real-time. Meanwhile, managers can track mobile workers and find out what they are working on at the moment. This allows for greater adaptation to changes and a more efficient organization. It works with less friction and employees see their processes more simplified.

 

  • Cloud-based solutions allow companies to avoid some costs associated with installing new hardware since storage and processing are handled by the software vendor. These services usually have high levels of security, as they protect the data and make a constant back-up. Plus, cloud storage syncs data across all devices and allows access from anywhere.

Managing a Mobile Workforce

managing a mobile workforce

Managing the mobile workforce has challenges and companies need to solve key issues such as communication, productivity and security. To make it work, it is a priority to create a work environment that cultivates a sense of community and connection between teams, even when they work from different locations or outside the office.

Furthermore, it must be ensured that employees can access from mobile devices to perform their tasks, obtain information and data from the enterprise’s systems. Solutions must be intuitive, modern and still comply with the company’s security and compliance guidelines.

To manage the mobile workforce, it is important to facilitate communication, ensuring that everyone is connected and generating clear channels.

With no physical office, teams need to rely on collaborative tools, e-mail, phone calling and other information-sharing technologies.

The employer must also provide a consistent experience across the company systems. The applications need to be easy to use without complex workflows since many times they are managed from mobile devices, avoiding tricky login processes that cannot be solved on the go.

Finally, managing a mobile workforce involves ensuring that both the security and compliance guidelines are met. Strong guidelines and clear policies must be set to educate employees on the best practices and avoid mobile risks, especially security threats.

Social and Mobile

To meet the mobile workforce demands and to be in line with the new generations of employees, the solutions must be social and mobile. That is, they must allow the workforce to collaborate through social networks and allow work seamlessly, in real-time, at any time and from anywhere.

It is about freeing the workers from desks favoring mobile and social connectivity so that they can contribute with information from anywhere. Mobile and social media allow communication and interaction within the context of the company.

social and mobile

Mobile Workforce Management System

mobile workforce management system

A Mobile Workforce Management (MBW) system refers to a set of tools used to schedule, monitor, track and analyze the performance of mobile teams as they perform their tasks and serve customers. They are systems designed to help company leaders effectively manage their employees in the field especially when interacting with customers.

They include tools to:

  • Create workforce scheduling.
  • Send employees to new tasks.
  • Communicate with employees in real-time.
  • Plan periods of high and low workload.
  • Track employees.
  • Register the job.

There are different types of technologies and software to administer and manage work outside the company premises. Mobile workforce management solutions enable to manage the delivery, deployment, and management of mobile devices, apps and PC software. Related support services may include tracking, productivity management, logging, and other types of communications.

IEX Workforce Management

One of the most popular solutions today is NICE IEX Workforce Management, a cloud-based set designed for companies of all sizes and in all industries. It has artificial intelligence embedded and machine learning algorithms. Users can identify patterns, develop accurate forecasts, and create different types of reports.

Among its functions, the possibility of including multi-skill simulation for users, planning vacations and the generation of robust analytics stand out. Employers find in this tool a way to manage the activity of mobile workers through a friendly interface. On the other hand, employees can have more control over their schedule being able to choose their preferred shifts by using availability points.

Mobile Workforce Support

One of the biggest challenges that organizations are facing when enabling mobile workforce is the delivery of multi-faceted technical support to meet the different demands of the variety of mobile devices and services that mobile workers use.

To give a correct mobile workforce support, companies must carry out a complete analysis of their mobile workers, access their profiles in terms of business needs, access locations and usage patterns. Also, it is necessary to know the time and customer expectations regarding the activity of everyone.

It is important to determine how critical each person’s task is to the organization, whether it requires real-time response and how their tasks impact customer satisfaction.

workforce support

It must also be delimited from which locations the worker will access the organization’s systems and information, how many different locations there will be, and if they will always be the same.

A fundamental part of the support is considering how the workers will carry out their tasks, whether they will receive alerts or messages, fill out forms, create documents or do more complex things.

All this will improve the effectiveness of the organization and save significant costs. It will also improve the visibility of mobile investments, highlight pool purchasing power opportunities and enable the creation of plans for mobile support.

The Best HR Software

hr software

In order to carry out all the tasks and to have a record of the activity of the mobile workforce, it is necessary to have human resources (HR) software for personnel administration. These tools cover a wide range of processes such as recruitment, hiring, counseling, and evaluation. They also allow managing remuneration, benefits and performance as well as employee relations, among others.

The software has allowed companies to improve and accelerate all the processes that were previously performed manually so that HR teams can focus on the well-being of employees and comply with labor laws and regulations.

Project-Management.com has compiled a ranking of the five best HR software, which allow companies to perform important functions related to attraction, retention and management of employees as well as to handle all HR data. These solutions save costs and redistribute resources for different projects, while helping managers and business owners to make better decisions based on data reports from their workforce.

Top 5 HR software ranking:

  1. BambooHR: Launched in the US in 2008, it is an online program that allows the collection and organization of information gathered throughout the life cycle of each employee. It offers a unique and secure database.
  2. WebHR: Developed in 2011 in the US, it is also an online tool defined as all-in-one because it covers all HR tasks, from hiring to retirement.
  3. Nortek: A flexible and customizable cloud-based software that automates processes and allows centralizing data to be accessed from anywhere.
  4. HR Cloud: It is cloud-based software for businesses of all sizes, which records information about onboarding, organizational culture, and employee records, accessible from any device, with secure cloud storage.
  5. Monday.com: Help with recruitment and onboarding tasks in a simple way, as well as management in an organized visual space.

What's Next?

How can CMIT Solutions of Chapel Hill, NC help with mobile workforce management?

Understanding the technology required to keep your workforce productive in an increasingly mobile environment can be very confusing and frustrating. Even if you spend time learning and training to prepare for today’s challenges, the applications and equipment needed will undoubtedly change in the near future. CMIT takes away the headaches of maintaining a productive mobile workforce by consulting and training you and your employees, today and in the future.

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