Mobile working is a must in today’s business world but it can be difficult to remain productive and stay in the loop when you’re not in the office, often leading to frustration and a lot of loose ends to tie up when you get back.
There are a variety of software products available to support and enhance mobile working such as Microsoft’s Office 365, but the intention of this article is not to discuss the products offered, but the tactics you can deploy and considerations to be made on a day-to-day basis to make your mobile working more productive and for you to remain motivated.
Here are our top 5 tips for productive mobile working:
Wherever you happen to work, it is vital that you are not distracted by your surroundings. After all, you are a mobile ‘worker’ you are not on holiday. When working from home, it may be helpful to designate an area just for work with minimal room contents apart from what you need to do your job; i.e. a desk and comfortable chair and no TV.
A café is not always the best option for mobile working or for a meeting either, as it’s likely you’ll get disturbed and find it hard to concentrate with the background noise.
It may also be helpful to:
- Have a separate work phone so you can avoid personal/social calls unless absolutely necessary
- Filter your emails so you only concentrate on the most important (from your manager/customers)
- Stay away from social networking sites, as these tend to eat up time; perhaps un-ticking the automatic login option on your device will help with this.
Be aware of what technology your colleagues/clients are using
Not all your colleagues/clients will have access to the latest tablet/smart phone or high–tech software, so you need to be aware of the restrictions in how they can be contacted and how you can collaborate on documents. This may mean that web conferencing is not an option, and you need to arrange a meeting face to face which needs to be done in advance, so you can plan your time effectively.
Keep in touch
Even though you don’t want to schedule in-person meetings daily, as this can be a drain on your productivity, you don’t want to rely purely on technology either. The power of face to face should not be underestimated so it’s a good idea to check in with your managers/team in person at least once a week to ensure you’re both on the same lines, you remain on track and are up to date with everything that needs doing.
Structure your work week
Organization is key; plan your day, so you have sufficient breaks and blocks of working time. You need to discipline yourself so that daily tasks are completed and targets are met. Keeping ‘to do’ lists and having a diary to hand can help with this, or you could have this all in an electronic calendar, so you get notifications of new tasks or impending meetings.
Ensure the security of data
In order to remain productive, it is imperative that all your data is backed up so you don’t lose important documents. Whether this is done manually or is part of a cloud service is up to you but it does need to be dealt with. Carrying USBs, external hard-drives, the spare power lead and emergency adapters for your devices around isn’t always practical, let alone the security risk involved. It may be useful to use an online space to store documents, so you don’t risk leaving a USB on public transport or at a client site, and it also means you’re not lugging around so much kit.
It’s also a good idea to:
- Ensure all the devices you are using have an efficient anti-virus and phishing software, so the security is not compromised. This also helps maintain the performance of your device, which can be slowed down considerably by malicious software.
- Be aware that having meetings and answering phone calls in a public space is not always the best choice if you want company information to remain private, so be mindful of this and refer to your business security/ data protection policy.