Mobile computing & teleworking
With mobile technology, you can work from practically anywhere – your home, a hotel lobby, an airport, a cafe, a park…
In this module, you’ll learn about the benefits of going mobile, such as flexible work hours and the ability to stay connected to colleagues and clients. You’ll hear from two business owners and the success they’ve enjoyed from implementing mobile strategies, and find out how to make mobile work for you, too.
Part 1: Why go mobile?
Going mobile can be extremely beneficial to your business. You have easy and instant access to email, calendar appointments, and business documents, even when you’re away from your desk, and greater flexibility with working hours.
Mobile devices can also give you a competitive advantage. Having instant access to information can be the difference between making money, and losing it. For example, the ability to exchange information with colleagues, clients, and business partners in real time, and to respond to queries quickly, could help avoid potential problems by addressing issues promptly.
As more Australians access the Internet on their smartphones and tablets, you might want to consider a mobile strategy within your larger digital strategy. (See Module 1)
Choosing your device
The type of device you use will be driven by the needs of your staff and demands of the work. Whatever you choose, consider: do you have enough storage space? How and when do you back-up your information? What happens if disaster strikes and you need to recover lost data? (See Module 8 about storage options)
Part 2: Telework
Teleworking is where employees work away from the office, for set or varying amounts of time. They stay connected to the office via communication tools like email, phone and teleconferencing.
Many employees choose to telework from home. There’s a growing trend to work from co-working or ‘smart work centres’ – workstations in shared offices closer to where people live. There are many benefits for both you and your staff.
- Greater employee engagement, job satisfaction and output, leading to increased productivity.
- Greater retention of valued staff.
- Ability to recruit staff with desirable skills and experience independent of where they live.
- Reduced office costs.
- Business continuity in the face of major weather events and other disruptions.
- Better work-life balance as they save the time, stress and cost of daily long commutes to work.
- Greater ability to combine two-income working parents with family and carer responsibilities.
- Improved health and productivity.
- Greater ability to contribute to local community and cultural activities.
According to a 2012-2013 survey of 1527 Melbourne organisations…
Watch this video to find out how two businesses – one large engineering firm and one small, cloud-based accounting business – took very different approaches to adopting telework.
Despite the different methods, both businesses have used telework to their benefit. Hear from those who have ‘been there, done that’, gain valuable insight, and see how telework can help your business to increase productivity and capability.
Information & Transcript
Download the PDF for more information about teleworking, as well as the transcript for this video.
Part 3: Mobile commerce
Mobile commerce is a quick and easy way for people to buy your goods or services anywhere, at any time.
According to PayPal Australia…
- 15 million people used online banking, or paid their bills online, in the six months prior to May 2013 – up 10 percent on the year before.
- Total payment volume through mobiles grew 14 times in 2013 to reach $42 million.
More than 110,000 Australian merchants have a PayPal account, from sole proprietors and developers to established large businesses.
1 in 3 PayPal Australia transactions now take place on a mobile device
Most professional services are yet to fully exploit mobile commerce potential despite the fact it will likely drive changes in how companies invoice, and how they purchase other services.
Part 4: Making your website mobile-friendly
As more people use mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones to access the Internet, it’s critical that your business website appears and functions well on those screens. This is called ‘mobile optimisation’.
In April 2015, 26 per cent of Australian businesses have a website optimised for mobile. After the 21st of April, 2015 Google search will will return the most popular, mobile-friendly results.
Optimised sites have a few added-value features, like the ability to use a smartphone’s maps function to locate your business, or a button to dial your business phone number. Website and CRM systems such as WordPress often have the facility to optimise websites for mobile. Check with your website provider or work with your/ a website designer to optimise your site. So make sure mobile optimisation is at the top of your to-do list.
Part 5: Mobile communication apps and videoconferencing for staff
Having communication services that quickly help staff to problem solve, innovate, find answers and connect quickly are invaluable in business. Digital allows faster communication flow and here are some of the newer apps and videoconferencing tools available:
Cotap is secure texting (like SMS) for business. Without swapping phone numbers, people easily find and message coworkers, share files, photos and videoconference. More secure and different to consumer-focused apps such as Whatsapp and WeChat that require phone numbers.
WhatsApp is a mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia. Largely used personally, it is increasingly used for businesses though worth researching whether it is as secure as you wish for your business.
Facebook Messenger is an instant messaging service and software application which provides text and voice communication which allows Facebook users chat with friends and colleagues both on mobile and on the main website. Requires people to be Facebook users. Increasingly people in business are using Facebook messenger though it does require people to be friends with each other on Facebook which isn’t always preferred by individuals who rather have business separate to their personal Facebook.
Via Skype you can have a spoken conversation with someone over the Internet using the software application. If your computer has a camera or webcam, you can use video calling and see the other person. This is called videoconferencing. There is a paid version of Skype where you can have group videoconferences.
Viber is a mobile application that allows you to make phone calls and send text messages to all other Viber users for free.
Google Hangouts and On Air
Google Hangouts are a component of Google+ and are a useful way to videoconference and “screenshare” documents – 2 people or a group. Google Hangouts are free with a free google account, free to have many people in a videoconference and can require less internet / data on your smartphone than Skype. Setting up google hangout may require downloading the Google Hangout app on your computer and having a staff member take people through the basics.
Google On Air is where you can broadcast real-time to many people.
If you’re planning on using mobile devices to try and increase your business productivity, these resources may help. All information was current at the time of writing. When you go to any of the links below, you will be leaving the DBK site.
Distilled.net – Best practice for building your mobile-friendly site.
Hubaustralia.com – co-working venues.
Business Communication Apps and Videoconferencing User guides:
Cotap.com/apps – Cotap basics and download.
Whatsapp.com – Whatasapp basics and download.
Facebook.com/help/151024075021791 – Facebook Messenger basics.
Support.skype.com/en/skype – Skype basics and download.
Plus.google.com/hangouts – Google Hangouts basics.
Support.google.com/plus/answer/2553119?hl=en – Get started with Google Hangouts On Air
Viber.com/en – Viber