Working on mobility

Managing a mobile workforce takes work, as Julie-anne Sprague reports.

THE successful operation of a mobile workforce demands careful management of a company’s human and technical resources.

The advantages of increased efficiency and productivity can be lost in seconds because of simple technical hiccups and ineffective management of mobile staff. Companies also can incur unnecessary expenses because of poor management of hardware resources.

According to Kinetic IT director Terry North, the key issues for managing a mobile workforce are security, training, and stock control.

“Security of your own data is the biggest issue people have to come to grips with,” Mr North said.  “Also important for organisations with a large mobile workforce is tracking the equipment, knowing where it is and who has it is.

“If a company has 10,000 laptops, each with a software licence, but 300 were returned [to the office] and no-one knows about it, then you are paying for licences that you don’t use.”

He said understanding each user’s software requirements could cut licence fee costs. Good IT support and basic training before hardware was issued was critical to maintaining productivity and supporting the mobile work fleet, he said.

Companies also need to be cautious of isolating workers and should adopt policies that encourage staff interaction on a regular basis, according to Australian Institute of Management WA executive director Patrick Cullen.

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