There is a global trend towards creating an efficient and connected workforce through technology that gives employees flexibility in their choice of work hours and location. The next generation of employees have grown up in a world of instant communication and immediate access to information through their smartphones. Providing a workplace culture that supports this way of working can help organizations retain and motivate their staff.

We work with many customers in the tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries, and have observed first-hand how moving to an empowered and incentivized mobile workforce allows employees to identify and react quickly to customer communications from traditional structured channels (phone calls, customer relationship management systems) and unstructured channels such as social media.

Mobile, empowered employees are a huge asset to customer loyalty and retention.  Providing employees with devices and software that allow them to see insights on their customers, and manage their requests can open up opportunities to surprise and delight customers, as well as speed up the time it takes to resolve potentially damaging customer concerns and issues.

Tips for building a mobile workforce

Our own workforce is distributed across the world and we promote mobility in our tools and processes to best support our clients.  Some key learnings from our experience adapting to the trend in mobility include:

1. Allow employees to bring their own devices (BYOD)

Having a single mobile device is convenient for the employee, and cuts down on training, procurement and maintenance expenses for the organization.  However, distractions abound, so appropriate processes, guidelines and a strong workplace culture help make sure that personal use is minimized during work time.  Management tools exist that can help in ensuring personal devices meet your organizations’ data compliance and security obligations.

2. Use the right software

The increasing connectivity of our PC’s and devices has caused a corresponding shift in the way software is delivered.  Many of the tools your organization is using may have already moved to a software-as-a-service model and include support for a mobile application, or mobile optimized web site.  This allows employees to manage their workload on the go, rather than when they have access to an office PC.  Choose software that can be easily used by employees wherever they may be.

3. Be flexible

A downside of a mobile workforce for employees is that they are now reachable outside of business hours, and work requests and notifications can eat into personal time.  Trust your staff and set guidelines and expectations on when work requests should be answered and when they can switch off.

As technology evolves we can expect the trend towards a virtual workplace to continue. It’s a double win for organizations striving to build on customer loyalty while providing an environment increasingly favoured by the next generation of employees.