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The mobile workforce – it’s not coming; it’s here

According to CIO Insight magazine:

Mobility will change the fabric of how employees interact with each other, partners, vendors and customers. If companies leave mobility unmanaged or try to manage it from a narrow focus, such as IT or HR, the likely result will be a frustrated workforce, which will reinforce generational divides among workers.

Oh no! Not the dreaded generational divide!

iphoneI think it’s fair to say that mobility—meaning laptops, smartphones, tablet computers, flexible work arrangements, telecommuting and so on—already has changed the way employees perform their jobs. Even if mobility just means an employee accessing her work email on her Blackberry outside of work hours, or another worker connecting his iPhone to the company network, it’s probably happening. It might even be you right now. And it’s not just younger workers.

But not to quibble too much, the point is clear:

Mobility is not just about technology anymore. However, chances are high that IT, specifically the chief information officer (CIO), will be responsible for any mobile initiatives within the company. So, CIOs need to take a broad view of mobility and understand the effect this technology will have on departments such as HR, sales, marketing, legal, security and facilities, as well as IT.

With that in mind, the magazine offers five tips for managing your mobile workforce. While the article gives short shrift to security, the advice is generally practical. I particularly appreciate the exhortation to “get ahead of the issue and have processes and procedures in place to accommodate this behaviour.” The most effective procedure will be recorded as part of an official mobility (or something like that) policy, but you don’t have to start there. The key is that you start somewhere. If your organization has never even considered how mobility affects your workplace and operations, you need to start thinking about it and talking it out with your employees and maybe even your clients and suppliers. Only then can you act on a policy and procedures.

First Reference publishes Information Technology PolicyPro to help you with planning and implementation, network security, training and support and user responsibilities, among many other topics.

Adam Gorley
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Editor

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Adam Gorley

Editor at First Reference
Adam Gorley, B.A. (Phil.), is a researcher, content provider and editor. He contributes regularly to First Reference Talks and Internal Control blogs, HRinfodesk and other First Reference publications. His areas of focus include broad human resources issues, corporate social responsibility, corporate governance and government policies, information technology and labour market trends.Read more
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