Harnessing the power of a mobile workforce

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The world of work has changed substantially since the days of strictly 9 to 5. As our tech has advanced, traffic congestion has worsened, and real estate prices have risen, the workforce has moved towards favouring more mobile and flexible employment solutions. And it’s not just the employees applauding the transition; companies are also experiencing the benefits of being less firmly tethered to a bricks-and-mortar office space. Enter companies embracing a mobile workforce.

The new generation of work
84%[1] of millennials report that work-life balance is the most important factor in choosing a job. 82% cite work flexibility as the most important, with one third of millennials having considered leaving a job that wasn’t flexible.

Millennials are the largest demographic currently in the workforce, at 50%. Within the next two years, that number will climb to 75%[2]. And as the digital native Generation Z begins entering the workforce, the number of young workers will continue to rise. To remain relevant into the future, employers need to ensure that their work policies are designed to meet the needs of this new generation.

5 key benefits of a mobile workforce
If your company is thinking about adopting practices to encourage greater work flexibility, consider the following 5 benefits.

1) Increased productivity
Traditionally, employers have wanted to see workers physically present during “work hours”. But we need to learn to distinguish between “work hours” and “productive hours”. Research has shown that 59%[3] of people are at their most productive when working remotely, whether at home or in a public space like a café. They have fewer distractions and they aren’t wasting time commuting. This in turn makes them happier, which- guess what? Increases productivity.

2) Attract talent
72%[4] of employers are having trouble attracting critical skill employees. As we’ve discussed in a previous blog (For Tech startups, salary isn’t the only way to attract talent), in today’s marketplace, compensation is not the biggest deciding factor in a modern worker’s job hunt. Creating a work environment that provides attractive lifestyle elements is critical to hiring and retaining top notch team members.

3) Work with nature
Millennials and Gen Z’ers are naturally immersed in a digital lifestyle. Younger workers can easily adapt to a full remote work environment, including the processes, apps, and gadgets necessary to facilitate success in their roles. Further, they are equipped to bring new ideas to the table to improve the effectiveness of your remote working solutions.

4) Global reach
When employees are allowed to make their own work hours, productivity often stretches past 9 to 5. Additionally, remote working enables you to hire employees in a number of different time zones, turning your virtual office into a 24-hour operation.

5) Cost savings
Commercial real estate prices are continuing to rise. Cutting down on the amount of office space you need to make your operation viable will present your company with an immediate cost savings.

In addition, as your employees begin to start families, the cost of childcare may potentially become a financial burden and negatively affect your employee’s performance. Having the flexibility to work remotely on occasion can improve the morale of staff, resulting in increased production with staffing knowing they do not have to take vacation or sick days to attend  important family matters.

Challenges of mobile work
Though remote working does seem to be the way of the future, it’s not without its challenges. Some of the things you’ll need to consider in implementing flexible working arrangements are:

Security
Will your employees be handling sensitive data or documents off site? Working in public spaces, and with open source internet can be a risk for data breaches and loss of confidential client data. You’ll need to account for this in your planning.

Culture
Without a central, daily meeting space, it can be challenging to maintain a corporate culture. One of the ways that modern companies handle this is by holding company social events, and encouraging video conferencing contact.

Tracking productivity
It’s true: When employees leave the office, it’s more difficult to track their productivity. Remote working makes quarterly or more frequent performance assessments necessary, as well as constant communication throughout the work day to make sure everyone stays on task.

Legal issues
If an employee sustains an injury on company time off site, are you legally responsible? Do you have knowledge of the employment standards and laws of the various geographic regions in which your remote employees reside? Such are the questions that need to be considered to facilitate a compliant remote working arrangement.

Enhancing mobile success
As with most things in life, successful strategy begins with an understanding of human motivation. What spurs people to action? What working conditions will support your employees in producing their best work? If a remote solution is right for your company, how will you measure productivity to monitor the success of the plan?

The legal and tax implications of hiring employees across geographic regions make it essential to have the expertise of a trusted advisor. Having worked with clients in emerging markets for 60 years, the team at Zeifmans has a unique understanding of what it takes to implement new strategies that stick.

To learn more about how we can help, contact our team today.

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[1] FlexJobs, “FlexJobs Survey: Millennials More Interested in Travel, Work Flexibility Than Gen X, Baby Boomers”, https://www.flexjobs.com/employer-blog/flexjobs-survey-millennials-interested-travel-work-flexibility/

[2] Dynamic Signal, “Key Statistics About Millennials in the Workplace”, https://dynamicsignal.com/2018/10/09/key-statistics-millennials-in-the-workplace/

[3] Avast Business, “The Avast Business 2018 Mobile Workforce Report”, https://blog.avast.com/hubfs/blog-files/Mobile-Workforce-Report-Master.pdf

[4] Wolters Kluwer, “Companies Worldwide Struggle to Attract and Retain Critical Skill and High Potential Employees”, http://www.employmentlawdaily.com/index.php/news/companies-worldwide-struggle-to-attract-and-retain-critical-skill-and-high-potential-employees-survey-finds/