The stereotype is that mobile devices in professional settings are distractions, which suggests that employees are unable to control themselves in their work environments. The fact is that smartphones and similar devices increase employee productivity in a variety of ways, making the argument that BYOD—bring your own device—policies or company-provided phones can have a positive impact on output and profits. If greater efficiency and higher productivity levels are your aims, then consider how smart devices can make your employees work better.
Easy Access to Email
Ask the employees in practically any office setting how much time they spend answering emails, and they’ll respond with “a lot” as soon as they stop rolling their eyes. As it happens, answering emails on a smartphone is cake. Allowing employees to use smartphones at the office and outside of it means they can respond to messages no matter where they are. Instead of carving time out of their workday trying to catch up with correspondence, they can answer using their phones whenever they like, such as during the drive in, lunch, or the commute home.
An App for Everything
Most of the software your employees use on their laptops and computers at work is available in app format, including word processing software. Granted, no one wants to type out a report using their thumbs, but the point is that they can. Furthermore, USB keyboards and voice-to-text apps make it easier to use mobile devices for more advanced tasks.
Apps and programs that allow messaging are ideal for workplace settings. Slack, Whatsapp, and numerous others allow group messaging. Teammates and colleagues can create groups for specific divisions, projects, and tasks. This allows them to get in touch with each other anytime they like—even if one member of the team is absent or on vacation. If someone has an idea in the middle of the night, there’s no need to wait until everyone’s together again to share it. That increases both productivity and efficiency.
Seamless Sharing Capabilities
In much the same way employees and coworkers can message back and forth, the introduction of smartphones to the office will also allow them to share files, graphs, notes, proposals, training material, and more—all through their phones. With cloud technology, the same information is also available on the company network, so even employees who are off work can still update everyone back at the office. This also eliminates the problem of unprepared employees who forget documents or thumb drives at home.
Meetings from Anywhere
From Facetime to Skype, there are endless video apps that are ideal for meetings. Employees can attend meetings at the touch of a button. All they have to do is hold up their phones, and it’s like they’re right there in the conference room with everyone else. Using smartphones and similar mobile devices to conduct meetings is much more efficient. There’s no need to bend to everyone’s schedules, allowing everyone to accomplish their tasks and goals much more quickly.
Even if you go with the BYOD approach, you need to make sure that you provide your employees with a fast, reliable network. An employee using the newest, fastest phone on a sub-par network won’t work more productively. However, an employee using, say, a Samsung Galaxy S7 on a reliable network will instantly be more productive. Don’t expect miracles unless you provide the necessary tools.
Smartphones Encourage a Better Work/Life Balance
Employees who stay late, work weekends, and continue working at home seem like standout workers, but they’re among the first to burn out because they’re never away from work. They feel guilty about taking time off, even if they have it, and they inevitably run into a wall. Given the tools and the opportunity to perform some of their duties on a smartphone, employees will take more time for themselves without sacrificing their productivity. Because they can attend meetings, send files, and answer emails from anywhere, even on vacation, they’ll spend their time at the office pursuing more essential tasks.
Give your employees a chance to prove themselves. Mobile bans typically backfire, so allow your workers the opportunity to try. It’s worth the productivity increase, not to mention the improved moods of the entire office.