Many businesses that have made the switch to cloud hosting for their key data sets and critical applications have also embraced mobile-friendly work policies. Aside from the technological synergy between cloud storage and mobile devices, there is an array of operational benefits driving this trend and making its adoption more widespread. Enabling employees to accomplish their tasks on mobile devices has made physical offices more dynamic and fluid while at the same time pushing the boundaries of the traditional workspace.
Ultimately, what motivates the move to mobile work policies is the hope that allowing employees to do their jobs on smartphones, tablets and laptops will increase efficiency and overall output, with more to-dos being accomplished and deliverables being completed. These outcomes are particularly attractive for small and mid-sized businesses: The prospect of getting more out of each employee simply by permitting him or her to access company data and files on a mobile device is too beneficial to pass up. But achieving the desired goals of mobile work requires SMB executives to plan strategically, setting clear benchmarks and providing staffers the tools they need to optimize productivity. These three tips can provide a starting point:
1. Know how your employees like to work
No two companies are exactly alike - and the same principle should apply to mobile work policies. The rules and strategies that allow your staff to succeed with a choose your own device program or other mobile initiative will depend on several factors, not the least of which is what conditions are best suited for the habits, strengths and weaknesses of your particular employees.
Before crafting a mobile work policy, you'll need to take a look at the dynamics of your staff and develop a keen understanding of what conditions they need in order to become more productive. Will your employees benefit from being able to work remotely? Or will it be more effective for them to be more mobile within the four walls of the office? In a column for Business2Community, business and tech writer Mary Velan pointed out that the specific regulations articulated by the mobile work policy should reflect these needs.
"These rules should touch on productivity expectations, social applications appropriate for business use and what programs should be avoided due to IT complications or other concerns," Velan wrote.
Cloud security and document confidentiality parameters can also be set based on a clear understanding of employees' habits and the accompanying risks.
2. Create functional workflows
When it comes specifically to productivity, it's vital to ensure not only that the cloud-based applications employees are using are secure but also that they enable workflows that are streamlined and user-friendly. This will also require you to ask a set of key questions regarding the needs of your staff. Will the ability to collaborate in real time on important projects be a benefit? Do they need to have cloud storage apps that can make critical documents available from anywhere via their devices? Once you have a clear vision of the answers to these questions, it should become more apparent what set of cloud services will help your SMB achieve its mobile work goals.
3. Make data available where it's needed
In a column for Data Center Knowledge, EMC Syncplicity General Manager Jeetu Patel noted that data availability is integral to streamlining mobile workflows.
"With so many apps for file sharing, collaboration and productivity, users must often switch between different user interfaces and try to remember where exactly a file is located. This can be a problem if you are just using one file system, and it increases by an order of magnitude with each additional system you use," wrote Patel.
Be sure you have a unified cloud environment that makes data easy to access across devices.