Mobilising Staff

Mobilising staff is currently a hot topic across all industries. Last week I wrote about a mobilising your customers . Making sure your clients are catered for whether they are accessing your services via a computer on their desk, a tablet in their hands or a mobile in their hand.  The design principle of One Eye One Thumb!!  This week I would like to discuss mobilising staff.

With your staff starting to use mobile services as the norm in their private lives it is only logical that they will want to use it in their business life.  So is mobilising staff something you promote, deny or is it happening behind your back? Spiceworks found that of  the 24% of staff using Cloud based file sharing systems 50% were doing so off their own back. So it may be happening without your knowledge.

Mobilising your staff is not as hard as you would think and it can be very beneficial, lets look at some of the considerations.

Hardware Policy

BYOD/Bring your own device.  In a small business this can be a real cost saver. Allowing your staff to use their own tablets and or mobile phones could save up to £600+ per high end device.  Whilst you should consider if the employee will suffer extra contract costs due to business use, these costs are coming down and allowances going up so it will not be long before the standard mobile package will ofter more than enough air time/data.

COPE/Corporately Owned  Personally Enabled. With COPE you supply the hardware and mobile contract but allow the employee to install whatever apps they want to for personal use.  There may be a tax consideration here as the HMRC could consider it a benefit in kind.

COLD/Corporately Owned Locked Down. The business buys the device and contract but locks the device down down so that the employee can only use it for business apps and data.





Could be difficult with 4 mobile operating systems and numerous handsets.

Conflicts between business software and privately installed software.

Support becomes simpler.

Hardware Cost




Employee Satisfaction

🙂 🙂 🙂

🙂 🙂



OK but with variations on hardware and software you cannot be 100%.

Better, but again use of personal apps may mean reduced security.

Owned and locked down allows best control.

Operating System

There are four main competitors in the mobile operating stakes. iOS, Android, Blackberry and Microsoft, all with their pros and cons.  iOS and Blackberry only work on hardware made by Apple and Blackberry respectively.  With Android (developed by Google) and Microsoft you have a number of different handsets to choose from. Your choice of operating system may be limited due to the applications you need to run but many of the popular mobile business systems work across all platforms.  It is also be worth discussing this with your staff as there may already be a proliferation of a certain OS.


One of the biggest hurdles of mobilising staff is the mobile network, especially in rural areas.  In many areas the coverage  is still not reliable enough to be always on.  The suppliers coverage maps are often a good indication but should never be considered  100% accurate.  When looking at a coverage map don’t forget to check where people might want to work from and not just home and office locations.  You should also consider coverage when selecting the applications, does the app need a connection to be used or does it down load information for offline use.

Security and mobile device management

This is a major consideration, what happens if your employee miss-places their mobile handset or leave your employment.  If you have really embraced the cloud then it is likely the system that you have implemented will have some form of mobile device management.  Device management allows you to set up a centralised policy.  This policy sets the minimum security that devices connecting to your systems should have e.g. the size and complexity of a password and how many password entry retries are allowed.  Some of these management systems will also allow you to track a lost device, lock it down or even wipe it remotely.

Employees Privacy

If the employee is using a personal device, or  a corporately owned device for personal use it is likely that it will have personal information on it.  You should ensure your HR policy outlines what access to the data and device you are allowed for support and business activities.  In addition the employee should be aware that you may have access to their data and what they do on the phone, and obviously the ability to track the handset means you need to be sure the correct policy is in place!!

Work Life Balance

By mobilising your staff you are making them available almost 24/7, this obviously does not mean you should expect them to work 24/7, its down to you to make sure your staff understand that an email does not have to be answered after hours.  Again extending your HR policy should deal with this along with being a fair and mindful employer.

On device software/apps.

Mobilising staff is not just about allowing them to work remotely from the office, it needs to be looked at in conjunction with office systems.  Apps on the mobile device have to  integrate with the systems back in the office for the process to be cost effective.  It is more than likely that any mobile business system that you want to use will already be cloud based.  The upside of this is that these type of systems will be accessible on the office desktop just as well as on the mobile device.  Dropbox, Skype, and Google Apps for Business are great examples of this.  More of a challenge are legacy systems which do not work in the cloud, more times than not there are integration systems which will bridge the gap between the legacy system and the cloud.

So what are the benefits to your business

Mobilising staff does mean you have flexible staff and flexible staff should be happier and more productive. If a member of staff needs an adhoc day off or needs to be out of the office on short notice they can continue to work.  Down time normally associated with travel becomes up time.  Staff at the office become more efficient, I can scan my email on the way in deleting the spam and archiving FYI type emails so that when I get to my desk my inbox contains only the important stuff.  CRM/Stock and Admin systems are always upto date. If your staff work on the road or are regularly away from their desk changes to data from any location are synchronised. This two way sync means your staff can have the most recent information always to hand.  Using VOIP/Skype mobile calls and instant messaging both internally/externally allows for cheaper or even free communication.  These are just some of the benefits there are many more, especially when you consider this way of working is still in its infancy.

So mobilising staff does make sense for most businesses but a lackadaisical implementation could lead to problems.  Think about what you want out of it, what your staff are prepared to accept and even how your staff are currently embracing the mobile way of life and you will see the benefits.