As Christmas closes in, we all start to look fondly towards home. For business, ‘tis the season of empty desks, out-of-office emails and manic attempts to complete final tasks as employees rush out to catch the afternoon train.
On the other hand, among those left in the office, it’s commonplace to see productivity plummet across the festive period. The pace slows, working hours reduce and distractions are abundant.
But as greater global connectivity brings ever larger swathes of UK business into close contact with international brands, many of whom do not slow down for Christmas, it’s essential that organisations balance workforce happiness with a high level of customer and partner service.
The key to this balancing act at Christmas time is mobile working, which allows employees to work where they want, at home or en route, without dropping productivity.
Read more: Why does the UK have a productivity puzzle?
Using cutting-edge technology like virtual private networks (VPNs), companies can create a resilient “mobile office” which will allow employees to work remotely with all the same security, services and server access they have in the office. The VPN effectively enables secure cloud-like access to all the company’s applications – email, storage, messaging and so on.
Employees only need an internet connection to gain full access to work systems. With that comes the flexibility to log on wherever you are – with Wi-Fi availability spreading fast, stations, airports, trains and planes can now all be viable and safe places to work.
There are obvious difficulties with this strategy. Connectivity blackspots in tunnels or rural areas and unreliable home Wi-Fi can cause headaches with dropped communications, lost documents and unavailable servers. It can be hard for IT departments to keep up – recent research shows that users are frustrated by a lack of mobile access to IT support and slow response times when issues are reported.
One way for businesses to mitigate that problem is to mix self-diagnostic technology in with the VPN. Put simply, this is software which quickly and accurately pinpoints problems in the network. Once that’s done, it then either fixes them or puts the connection “on hold” until it can be resumed, avoiding the need for the user to laboriously restart applications and log in again to dropped services.
Mobile working is not yet the utopia it could be, but with the right quality tech, there’s a good chance that in the future we could see December becoming the month of home working.
With the mobile office, businesses can continue to make the most of their employees, even if they’re curled up in their pyjamas, waiting for the turkey to cook…