This column is part of Globe Careers' Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab
Under the strain of growing workloads, playing catch-up often means more time at the office in front of the computer and through face-to-face meetings. But it doesn't have to be that way – a mobile workspace can maintain, even increase, employee productivity, positively influencing your bottom line.
A mobile workspace allows users to access corporate data and apps in the same way they would while in the office. These types of work spaces are truly anywhere – and still allow for managing offsite employees. The typical nine-to-five, five days a week in the office is quickly becoming obsolete.
Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not you want your organization to be mobile. The truth is, your employees are likely already taking their work mobile, and using their personal devices to connect with their e-mail or work files, whether you have authorized it, or not. Perhaps you've even been doing it yourself.
In our current ever-connected world, it only makes sense that we'd take advantage of the technological tools we have available to us. Needless to say, it's no longer a secret that the consumerization of IT is here to stay, whether you embrace it, or not.
For a manager who is considering the pros and cons of allowing their staff to go mobile, the notion of managing remote employees while maintaining security and productivity can seem daunting. But, with the right approach, it doesn't have to be.
Distance doesn't equal disconnect.
Going mobile doesn't mean that you lose touch with your team. You can continue to schedule regular meetings and check-ins so that you are connected with your team's activities and progress – all from a remote location. Depending on the distance between team members, consider co-ordinating mandatory monthly, or quarterly, face-to-face meetings with your employees. Video conferencing and collaboration tools can also facilitate remote conferences and meetings.
Trust your employees.
Let the quality of your employees' work speak for itself. Whether an employee rushes out the office doors early on a Friday afternoon, or has to suddenly take time off for a family emergency, an employee's quality of work can always be affected by some sort of outside factor(s). Don't assume that your team will perform less effectively simply because they work from outside of the office. Productivity can thrive in an environment that allows employees to effectively balance work and personal responsibilities.
Arm employees with the tools they need to succeed. There are tools and services in the market that will enable your organization to securely allow employees access to systems and devices.
Manage your employees' time.
Mobility may be a preference or a necessity, but it's still a fairly new trend. Communicate clear expectations to your staff. Technology allows us to be connected at all times, but that doesn't mean we should always be tethered. Help your employees find the right balance, so they can work smart, and hard.