Maybe Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer was right in banning staff from working remotely. Or perhaps Virgin’s Richard Branson is onto something when he states that “one day offices will be a thing of the past.” Table it under “food for thought and debate.”
But recent anti-telework stances from companies like Yahoo or Best Buy notwithstanding, there is a definite growth when it comes to today’s mobile workforce. A recent IDC Canada report bears this out:its recent “Canadian Mobile Worker 2012 – 2016 Forecast” projects that Canada’s mobile workforce population will jump from 68.9 per cent in 2012 to 73 per cent by the year 2016.
According to IDC’s Krista Napier, we can attribute this growth to faster network speeds, growing commute times and the rise of mobile devices and cloud computing – all of which are helping to foster a flourishing mobile workforce.
Compare this to the worldwide estimates of the mobile workforce across the globe will reach 1.3 billion by 2015 and it’s quite evident to see that, whether or not there exists an official (or unofficial) stance on the behavior and productivity levels of mobile and remote workers in the organization, CIOs and network managers will have to develop a mobile workforce strategy sooner rather than later.
Here are just a few best practices that IT decision makers can follow to get started:
Develop a proactive “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) policy: Now’s the time to step away from a reactive, ad-hoc BYOD stance and shift towards a more proactive scheme. More than simply monitoring network access based on device, application and end-user identity, evaluating technology such as MDM and WLAN analysis tools – which on their own don’t necessarily represent a total solution – can represent the initial stages of developing a more comprehensive BYOD strategy.
Simplify the technical support processes: When it comes to effectively managing mobile workers and telecommuters, adopting the KISS principle can be key. This involves the support, access and standards across the organization – looking at streamlining the help desk, simplifying access to existing networks, and looking at taking advantage of single console or interface tools to monitor device health and application usage.
Tweak the network security stance: The influx of consumerized mobile devices within the workplace means that network managers should carefully review the network infrastructure correspondingly. This includes understanding the amplified capacity and latency requirements on the network along with developing a more nuanced approach to Network Access Controls (NAC) and authentication.
The IDC report goes on to note that office-based mobile workers represent largest segment in Canada with 52.5 per cent of employed mobile workers in Canada are office-based, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 2.4 per cent over the forecast period.
So like it or not, today’s network managers should already be looking at defining telework strategies that help employees boost productivity – it appears that the trend of mobile workers is here to stay.
Show Yahoo and Best Buy telecommuting can be done. Download ‘How to Support a Virtual Workforce’ from Frost & Sullivan.