Mobility and the internet have changed the way we communicate in our personal and professional lives.
This has resulted in 24/7 access to our working lives, including during our downtime.
Being ‘unavailable’ is increasingly a thing of the past, with the internet and smartphones now a daily part of the majority of Australians lives.
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No other technological advancement has come close to changing the social and economic fibre as quickly or as much as these combined.
We now live in a world where high speed access to information is not just a norm, but a necessity.
Mobile broadband is now the most popular way for Australians to access information on the internet, according to research by Optus. So it’s no surprise that it’s dramatically transforming how we conduct business and our daily lives.
For many, mobile broadband has meant:
- High-speed internet access on a range of devices in virtually any location;
- Increased efficiency and responsiveness for both businesses and their employees; and
- Affordable and flexible internet access for a range of organisations, particularly small and medium businesses.
While the trend to mobile broadband shows no sign of slowing, only around half of SMEs think that mobile internet access is important for their business. This means that SMEs need to evaluate both how they operate and conduct their business – whether that is managing employees or capital, generating leads or responding to emergent situations – if they’re to stay competitive in the digital world.
Why mobility matters
1. When combined with good security and strong IT support, mobility lets both employers and employees conduct their business regardless of physical location.
2. Mobility allows businesses to respond instantly to customer needs and deal with opportunities (and threats) on the go.
3. Being free to work at any time means you can work when you’re most productive and find more time to achieve work-life balance.
4. Not being mobile means being unable to keep up with the non-stop speed of running a business today.
5. Being mobile means more engaged employees and more time for strategic thinking within the business.
The impact of mobility
Mobile broadband is the fastest growing internet technology in Australia, and as a result, has become as fast and as stable as older wired broadband.
With faster networks and smarter mobile broadband devices, a mobile workforce can help your employees get more out of their day, respond in real-time and increase their effectiveness and productivity.
Empowering employees for increased productivity
Employees can now work beyond the confines of the office, giving them an increased sense of accountability and responsibility to work, as well as the freedom to manage their time more productively.
Mobile broadband also helps employers and employees take advantage of their time – for both business and pleasure.
A recent Forrester Report found that ‘anytime, anywhere’ internet connectivity can provide mobile workers with 11 additional hours of productivity per week.
More often than not, this occurs because employees can take advantage of otherwise unproductive time periods; almost 78% of workers, for example, use mobile devices for business purposes on the commute to and from work.
These 11 additional hours add up in the long run, both for employee wellbeing and the business’ bottom line.
Work-life balance has become critical in the fast-paced environment we live in today and mobile broadband is an example of a key enabler.
With today’s technology, an employee doesn’t need to be chained to a desk in a nine-to-five cycle. Instead, they can effectively use what was once considered downtime (particularly working while commuting, or working from home) to stay up to speed with their business and their colleagues, which means having more time for family, hobbies and the other ‘life’ which makes up the work-life balance.
Enhance customer satisfaction
Customer needs and demands have also changed in today’s fast-paced and economically tough environment, with customers expecting quick response and action from businesses they engage with.
Optus recently released findings which detailed the level of digital readiness for Australian SMBs.
In contrast to increasing customer expectations, this research indicates that SMBs overall are divided about the importance of having a digital strategy.
This means if they don’t keep pace with how consumers want to engage with them, they may miss out on potential business opportunity and growth.
Consumers live in a digital world where the internet is going mobile.
We believe SMEs will have to operate in this space if they want to hold onto these customers.
Quick response and easy accessibility can make the difference between winning and losing a customer, which makes a strong business case for fostering workplace mobility. Having the right technology tools can make your business agile enough to meet and go beyond customer expectations and demands, giving a competitive edge.
Communication and collaboration
Effective, efficient and easy communication methods and tools are a prerequisite for collaboration. A mobile work environment makes collaboration easier by providing access to emails and documents on the go and from multiple locations.
This means employees can pursue opportunities outside of the office while still being able to get their work done.
The rise of tablets as a choice for business people has meant that employees can bring business presentations, timely responses and critical information straight to their clients and customers.
More simply, tablets and mobile broadband allow people to carry around their entire business in their hands and share it with co-workers and customers whenever they need to.
We need a change in mindset if we are to thrive in today’s business world.
You are no longer measuring an employee’s output by the hours they spend at work, but with actual results, presenting a shift from the traditional approach.
Being switched on 24/7 also means that employees need to ensure they don’t burn out from lack of downtime.
From a technical side, clear security guidelines and policies are needed to ensure that information security is not compromised in the quest for mobility.
Work protocols also need to be discussed and agreed amongst the employees, managers and the organisation, and a clear code of conduct must be set to ensure that your business and ethics are not compromised.
Another key challenge is identifying the right technology partner to support your business needs. You should consider a partner that can provide the right technology tools and ideally coupled with tech support around the clock.
Having the right partner can pave the way for a smooth seamless transition to true mobility in the digital economy.
The future is exciting and it is now more than ever the right time to evaluate your business mobility needs, identify the right partner and work with your employees to take the leap to mobility and give your business the edge it needs to succeed in the digital economy.