The FM Professional

Mobile Management: How FMs Should Plan for an Increasingly Mobile Workforce

Nick Mason
March 21st, 2017
facility manager mobile technology flexible workforce

As modern workforces change alongside new technologies, more offices are hiring employees that don’t work a traditional 9 to 5 week in office. What is mobile working? Mobile working refers to the ability to work remotely and not necessarily at home or the office.

These days staff may work from home part-time and some members of your team may even work remotely full-time. Thanks to connected technologies, every employee can stay updated on workplace happenings in real-time and remain productive members of the larger team.

Facility managers should seek to keep their teams connected, motivated and communicative regardless of where they are working. Here are a few considerations FMs should take into account when planning for and accommodating an increasingly mobile workforce.

Workplace Design

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Physical office layout and design are critical when planning for a more mobile workforce. Many companies are increasingly encouraging on-site staff to work remotely a few days per week. Office design should reflect this flexibility—furniture that can be relocated or shared among staff, such as hot-desks, can help accommodate the ebb and flow of employees on site at any given time.

Flexible office design is a good way to accommodate an increasingly mobile workforce while reflecting the office’s key values.

If your workplace wants to highlight collaboration, communication, flexibility and supportive corporate culture, choose an office design that promotes teamwork while accommodating staff with unique schedules, needs or workplace habits.

Remote Resource Management

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In addition to maintaining an office design with mobile employees in mind, facility managers should take into account how office resources may be affected by remote workers. It is increasingly common for workplaces to employ staff that are completely remote—meaning they don’t come into the office at all.

Facility managers need to ensure that these staff have access to the proper tools and systems they need to work productively from afar.

Does your resource management system take into account off-site resources being used by remote employees? If remote employees are using company software and programs, is their data connected to an internal data-center through cloud-based tools? A facility manager should have established protocols in place to address these questions and troubleshoot any issues with their programs or software. In many cases, it’s wise to use programs that provide external technical support, so that remote employees do not put your internal IT team under strain.

Mobile Workers and Wayfinding

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An efficient workplace minimizes the amount of time employees waste trying to find resources or other staff members. With the help of connected technologies, employees should be able to easily locate what they need. With a portion of your employees only in the office on occasion, you’ll want to ensure staff can locate and recognize one another.

One simple way to do this is through a visual directory, which allows staff to locate coworkers and access their details in seconds.

This technology should allow any employee to see who is in the office, so that they don’t lose time trying to organize an in-person chat and can choose the appropriate communication channel to get in touch with someone who is working remotely. With web-based sign in, employees should be able to access this technology from their phones or from a desktop, regardless of whether or not they’re in the office.

New technologies have changed the way we work and communicate, inspiring a huge trend of employees working remotely. There are many tools available to help keep staff organized no matter where they are working. With intelligent office design, resource management and employee tracking in place, mobile workers can contribute to a productive workplace and feel like a connected member of the team.

Photos: Shutterstock / marvent, Shutterstock / ESB Professional, Shutterstock / Peter Bernik, Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images