The Best Tools for Creating a Mobile Office
As mobile devices continue on their path to becoming our primary devices for work, and the modern workplace demands staff be online and accessible anywhere and anytime, the traditional office space is fast becoming a thing of the past.
In its full form, an official mobile office has the added benefits of fewer distractions, more focus, greater inspiration, and staff contentedness. So what are the tools needed to allow you and your staff to take your work outside of the building?
This is the most obvious requirement before anything else. A stable, fast internet connection is the first step to taking IT outside. Portable WiFi devices, or simply tethering from a mobile phone’s data plan, can be enough to get online.
Phone and mobile devices
The next obvious necessity is a device that will allow work to be done from outside the office. The traditional laptop is fast becoming a thing of the past in some ways, with tablets, phones, ‘phablets’, and 2-in-1 devices gaining popularity amongst the masses. No matter what type of work you are doing, there is no doubt a device out there that can handle the job.
Portable scanner and printer
For those who still need to do office-based tasks such as scanning and printing, there is hope. USB powered scanners and printers are available, meaning that even these traditional admin tasks can be done from outside the office if needed.
Having access to the work desktop and network is an important part of the mobile office. Programs like TeamViewer can solve this, allowing staff to simply login to their machines remotely and effectively pick up where they left off.
Part of a new suite of internet cloud-based products, Google Drive can help with the storage and sharing of centralised documents, making document collaboration a much easier and smoother prospect than it was in the past.
Microsoft Office 365 is another option for organisations that are ingrained within the Windows ecosystem. Each license allows users to use it on their desktop and mobile device.
Video calling and online messaging
The simplest method of online voice, video, and text communication, Skype can open up a new world of collaboration. Remaining contactable from your mobile office is crucial, and this is a great way to do it. Google Voice and Google Hangouts are alternative tools that serve a similar purpose. For more powerful users and teams, there are a suite of other products available in a similar vein.
For more traditional conference calling, there are plenty of products available to allow teams to dial in and manage meetings as if they were all in the same office.
With so many documents stored in networks and an unprecedented level of collaboration, secure storage is the lifeblood of a mobile office. Products such as DropBox and Microsoft’s SkyDrive can help solve this. Documents can be stored and shared across devices and staff, as they are all stored in a secure centralised cloud.
There is no doubt that there’s a gradual shift towards greater flexibility in workplaces. Traditionally, it was only those travelling staff that were required to be on the road that needed access to such tools. However, telecommuting is becoming a popular option for many workers around the world, and the productivity numbers are proving its worth. The best solutions will depend on specific requirements, and with so many available tools and products on the market there will no doubt continue to be improvements and new products over time.