Feb 14 2020
Digital Workspace

Making the Most of Mobile Collaboration

Today’s workforces are more mobile than ever. Businesses need the right technology to keep everyone on the same page.

Work has expanded beyond the confines of corporate offices. According to recent survey data, 62 percent of American employees now work remotely, with 30 percent doing so full time.

This shift to offsite work yields benefits for both sides: A two-year Stanford study found that staffers working from home were more productive, were more likely to put in a full day’s work and took less time off. Meanwhile, a survey from FlexJobs found that 86 percent feel less stressed working outside the office and 76 percent are more likely to stay with employers that offer flexible, remote scheduling.

But these positive outcomes don’t happen without active corporate oversight; companies must manage the moving parts of place, power and people to ensure staffers feel connected, IT integration is effective and project deadlines are met.

Part of the solution: advanced mobile technologies that drive seamless and straightforward remote collaboration.

DISCOVER: Find the right mobile device for your workforce here. 

How Mobile Devices Can Solve Problems of Place

Home isn’t the only place that remote workers are accessing corporate networks, leveraging digital resources and completing key tasks. From airports to coffee shops and public transit, many employees are working wherever, whenever.

These plentiful points of contact introduce challenges for businesses. Public Wi-Fi connections are notoriously unreliable and prone to security risks, and these shared connections often lack the strength and speed to act as effective backbones for electronic meetings or resource-heavy project applications. It’s also possible for staffers to find themselves beyond the reach of available Wi-Fi, rendering traditional laptops and tablets useless until they’re back at home or in the office.

Here, LTE-enabled devices — such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro, Surface Pro X and Surface Go — can help address the problem of place by allowing users to seamlessly switch between wireless and mobile connections. Empowering mobile collaboration with LTE is a top priority for Microsoft. A spokesperson says the company is “committed to including LTE in the Surface portfolio” and “to keeping these products vibrant with new hardware releases and supporting the latest releases of Windows.”

Hybrid Devices Deliver More Application Diversity

Mobile devices are now ubiquitous as business productivity tools — 68 percent of organizations value a “large range” of smartphones and tablets to enhance employee choice and ensure critical tasks are completed.

The challenge? There’s only so much staffers can do when they’re on the move. While workers now use their smartphones more than 150 times per day to send emails, check messages or open applications, full-featured mobile collaboration and business-specific software support are often lacking. It’s hardly surprising that almost 60 percent of remote workers cite IT issues as their biggest frustration.

In this instance, power limits performance. Not the lack of power, per se — as noted by Computerworld, many smartphones are more powerful than laptops or PCs — but its application. The power in mobile devices is earmarked for critical functions such as SMS messaging, device-to-device calling, GPS positioning and writing new data to memory, leaving a limited pool of resources for business applications at scale.

To deliver on the promise of mobile collaboration, many companies are turning to hybrid devices such as the Microsoft Surface, which allow users to get the best of both worlds: mobile device portability combined with productivity-first power that delivers a complete desktop experience to support key applications including Word, Excel and other office essentials.

The Right Collaboration Tech Helps Build Culture

For remote work to deliver on the promise of productivity, companies must address two key issues: human loneliness and the “loop” of corporate communication.

As noted by Gallup, lacking coworker connections can make remote workers feel isolated, in turn negatively impacting their ability to collaborate with other staff members and complete tasks on time.

This is compounded when it’s difficult to keep offsite employees informed about project details and company happenings. If they miss meetings and don’t show up for brainstorming sessions because they weren’t “in the loop,” the benefits of a distributed workforce start to sag under pressure. The problem is compounded as remote staffing ramps up; how do you connect five, 10 or 20 remote staffers with their onsite counterparts both reliably and on demand?

This is where the right mobile collaboration solution is vital. As noted by VentureBeat, while companies already spend more than $2 billion per year on collaboration tools, they’re looking for more than simple scheduling: “The next generation of collaboration technology brings several tools together under one umbrella, enabling employees to share and collaborate on documents in real time.”

Microsoft-driven IT ecosystems underpinned by Surface LTE devices offer native integration with powerful Teams functionality, making it easy for staffers to connect, collaborate and create. With more than 13 million daily active users and new features such as priority notifications, cross-channel posting and targeted communication, it’s easier than ever to get everyone on the same page.

Remote work is here to stay. But empowering productivity at scale demands proactive management of moving parts — place, power and people — to deliver on offsite potential.

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