Staff mobility - which boils down to work away from the office - continues to rise, and more businesses are warming up to the idea. This year’s report from The Sage Australian Business Index* revealed that 50% of all businesses agree their staff could work away from the office, with 88% of these organisations introducing mobile working policies.
Of the organisations implementing such policies, two-thirds have confirmed an addition to business value. Along with tangible ROI, three out of 10 respondents indicated ‘intangible benefits’, which included improved morale, staff satisfaction, productivity and a drop in absenteeism.
“Staff and workplace mobility initiatives are widespread among Australian businesses and the majority of companies are seeing some form of value from this new flexibility,” Alan Osrin, managing director of Sage Software Australia, said. “The challenge for HR and management will be to manage and maintain these returns as more employees seek to work away from the office”.
With Australian businesses experiencing a drop in confidence and performance this year, HR managers will need to work harder to ensure staff mobility can be implemented effectively and this means formalising procedures. “Informal policies will have to give way to formal policies outlining how time away from the office is to be managed, and organisations will need to stipulate what devices can be used for company business,” Osrin explained.
The most common tool used to facilitate out of office work is e-mail, followed by file sharing through drives and servers. The use of accounting and CRM systems is also prominent.
Sage’s report also indicated the importance of ‘mobile enabling’. Fifty-three per cent of all Australian companies view mobile enabling as relevant to their business. By connecting staff with each other, sharing business data and communicating with both customers and suppliers in real time, organisations have seen the productivity and communication amongst their staff bolstered.
*The Sage Australia Business Index 2013 features input from more than 400 business owners and decision makers across all business sizes and industries.