With mobile devices offering on-the-go access to everything from emails to work files, and video meetings connecting colleagues across the globe, the world is the new workplace. In fact, experts predict more than half of all full-time workers could be working remotely by 2020—just four years from now.
Employees are craving the independence that comes with project-based freelance work and the option to work remotely—but offering more flexibility has benefits for employers, too. A recent Gallup State of the American Workplace report found that employees who spend just 20 percent of their time working remotely are more engaged than in-office employees. They get the best of both worlds: time spent collaborating with coworkers in the office and a sense of independence.
So what does this new mobile, remote workforce actually look like? Let's take a closer look at the modern faces of mobility.
How To Support A Mobile Workforce
To best support this new mobile workforce, start by taking a look at how your organization invests in technology. Whether your employees are calling into a video conference from home, checking a mobile device for field assignments or responding to emails at the airport, technology is what's keeping them connected to their colleagues.
"Technology can be a double-edged sword—it's certainly increases workplace pressures, but it can also be a part of the solution," said Phyllis Moen, a University of Minnesota sociologist who studies careers, families and well-being.
Be thoughtful about how mobile devices can be used to increase workplace flexibility—and set boundaries so that expectations of availability don't create more stress. With video chat, email, conference calls and WiFi it is easy to constantly stay connected with remote employees.
When investing in your office's physical space, keep flexibility in mind as well. Create spaces where employees can find focus or privacy, such as small phone rooms. Empower—and trust—your employees to choose when, where and how they work and you could see increased engagement and performance. Allowing employees to work from home occasionally can help increase productivity and decrease stress.
There is no doubt that remote work is changing the workforce. And while there is no one size fits all solution, companies that embrace new mobile technology and workplace flexibility to support their remote workers can benefit from increased productivity and profitability, decreased employee stress and an overall more satisfied and loyal workforce.