Step onto any subway car, go into any café and walk down any street. One thing you are sure to see is a smartphone being used.
Twenty years ago, we simply used phones for making calls or sending text messages. Now, we carry our whole world around in them.
From bank details to social media contacts, office apps to learning tools, if you can turn it into a digital platform, you’ll find it on a smartphone somewhere. For businesses, to go mobile is communication dynamite and it’s changed the way employers work, not only in the U.S. but around the world.
For businesses across all industries, mobile tech has provided new and innovative ways to engage with employees, boost productivity and cut the cost of operating in an increasingly competitive world. Companies are now less worried about how they can stay secure when their staff are using their own devices in work. They are ultimately more concerned how to leverage all this great technology so that it benefits staff and customers. 64 percent of Americans now own a smartphone with the number of users rising above 200 million across all states.
And it’s not just big organizations that can reap the benefits of mobile. For small businesses, the cost cutting advantages are pretty good and the opportunities to work smarter mean that there is more chance of success and grow in both the short and long term.
1. Better Employee Engagement
In many businesses over the last few years or so, the concept of better employee engagement has become a hot topic. Greater understanding of the needs and thought processes of those who work for you is paramount in getting the best out of them. Effective engagement also allows businesses to come up with diverse strategies that help maintain and nurture top talent.
The upcoming millennials are virtually inseparable from their smart devices and use them for everything from shopping to talking to their friends. Deeper employee engagement can also be achieved by updating and communicating more effectively, allowing individuals to work and innovate wherever they are in the world.
2. Increased Productivity
Having access to information in the blink of an eye, when it is really needed, helps to boost productivity and stay ahead of the game. Employees don’t have to wait around for calls or paperwork to come in. It is sent to their smartphone or tablet immediately and that means they can act and react more quickly.
Combine this with employers who are committed to working more flexibly in order to get the best out of staff and you have a recipe for tighter working and greater engagement. Because businesses can respond more quickly to customers as well, this means service and sales are improved across the board.
Networking and collaborative working can be undertaken anytime, anywhere. An employer can send a project update to an employee and he or she can receive it while travelling to work on the subway, return comments and get the conversation moving rather than wait to log on or attend a meeting once at work.
3. Affordable App Builders for Small Businesses
Businesses are not constrained by the need for big movers and shakers such as Microsoft to provide the relevant app for them. It’s now possible to have bespoke apps built for any business and at a cost that won’t drain dollars out of the budget using an affordable app builder. Employers can pick and choose what they need with little or no programming experience required and have the advantage of scalability which means they can start small and build their app to something more complex at a later date.
These kinds of apps can be easily rolled out to relevant staff and used to improve productivity in a variety of ways. This could be anything from a push notification about an important deadline or calendars for employees to something more complex such as ordering supplies and undertaking projects between several staff members.
Apps can also be built to define a business brand and be given out free to consumers. This works well for businesses such as restaurants or take away outfits who can give customers more opportunity and easy access to purchase from menus. It also means customers have a ready reminder of the company brand on their mobile device as well as easy access to the service or products it supplies.
4. On the Spot Learning
One area where employee engagement often falls down is providing staff with the right level of training and learning. Sophisticated educational apps can now be added to mobile phones that allow staff to learn at their own speed and in their own time.
Modules can be downloaded, progress tested, tracked and stored. You can also update employees with office regulations and strategies that enable you to keep everyone in the loop without the need for time consuming meetings. Research suggests that firms which promote a culture of learning in their office environment are 52 percent more productive. That can only lead to one thing: greater profits.
5. Out of Office Working
One of the major changes that new technology has brought about is how many employees no longer need to be tied to their desks. With cloud services and smart devices such as mobile phones and tablets, they can work anywhere in the world. This has led to many businesses, particularly small to medium sized ones, actually moving away from the traditional office environment. Employees can work from home, connect via the Internet, update on their smartphones, engage with each other through conferencing and video sites. Even if employees do need to come into the office every day, the likelihood is that they will check in at home or when they are off on vacation, sorting emails and responding to clients and other staff members while on the move.
Employers who engage with the latest technology and go mobile will no doubt have a head start on their competitors. The way we work is changing and keeping up with all the latest developments is vital if businesses want to grow and succeed. The mobile revolution may well be one of the most defining moments of the next twenty to thirty years.
Mobile Photo via Shutterstock