For many living in the gig economy, the office job is a thing of the past. An increasing number of millennials entering the workforce are either working on a contract basis or seeking out remote opportunities where they can make their own hours, control the volume of their work and perform their jobs in any location.
Mobile workers typically cite a number of reasons for this paradigm shift—some enjoy having the kind of flexibility that allows them to take breaks at their own pace, whereas others simply feel less pressure away from their supervisors and coworkers. No matter what their motivations are though, one thing is clear: working remotely is catching on like wildfire.
For those of you who are supervisors, it’s important to understand this trend. Maybe there’s a way for you to make your team more productive by ramping up the use of mobile technology in their routines (especially if they need to travel frequently on the job).
This can be particularly helpful if you’re a small business without a lot of resources to spare. You’ll need to make sure everyone who works for you is as efficient as possible so that your organisation can remain competitive, and sometimes that means finding ways for your people to take their work on the road.
Then again, maybe you’re not quite there yet. You could just be trying to orient yourself in the midst of a quickly changing technological culture. You might even be wondering how it’s possible to perform the functions of a full time job without an office. Here are a couple of ways in which people in the new economy are making it happen:
Getting the most out of existing mobile technology.
Whether they’re working from home or sharing communal workspaces, remote workers have to make sure that they can stay in touch with their clients, supervisors and contacts at all times. That means using up to date equipment. Working remotely is much easier with up to date mobile technology, after all, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that remote workers need to keep purchasing new devices.
Companies like PhoneCheck test, diagnose, repurpose and repair mobile devices to keep them suitable for remote work, making it easier for people to keep working from anywhere while also providing an essential service for manufacturers, network operators, retailers and resellers.
Using coworking spaces.
Just because people aren’t spending as much time in offices these days doesn’t mean they’re all sitting around in their pajamas. In fact, part of the reason that offices were established was to provide workers with a change of environment that would put them in a more productive mindset, and this strategy remains effective even in the age of remote working. That’s why coworking spaces exist.
The philosophy is pretty simple: you bring your own devices to a quiet space that you share with other remote professionals. Pricing models vary, but all coworking spaces offer flexibility along with an environment that facilitates high levels of focus, making them invaluable for serious members of the mobile workforce. Check out this list of the 10 best coworking spaces around the world according to Forbes.
Working from home.
A large number of people in the mobile workforce still feel most comfortable in their own homes, and it’s easy to understand why. Imagine taking snack breaks whenever you want, working in the clothing you feel most comfortable in, and never having to wait for the bathroom—starting to see the advantages? Maybe that’s why over 38% of mobile workers feel most comfortable working in their homes, according to Mashable.com. In fact, this writer is sitting on a couch in his living room right now, and he isn’t even wearing socks.
Taking Advantage of Free WiFi.
For mobile professionals on a budget (and for those who are easily distracted by the comforts of home), it’s possible to accomplish a great deal in many public spaces. All you need to do is find a place with an internet connection you can access. Many cafes offer free WiFi, meaning that you can get an entire day’s worth of work done at a Starbucks for the price of a small coffee.
If you’re travelling long distances, you can also tap into the WiFi at your airport—or even on board when you fly with certain airlines, like Air Canada. Most hotels offer complimentary internet as well, so you can keep working once you land. Just be careful to make sure your WiFi connection is secure, especially if you’re working with sensitive information—and of course, you’ll have to be comfortable working around lots of people if you choose any of these options.
File sharing and collaborative technology.
We’ve talked quite a bit about how remote workers can be more productive on an individual basis, but mobile workers also tend to thrive when they can work together on projects over long distances. Email can accomplish quite a few things on its own, but it’s far from the only tool allowing workers in different areas to collaborate—and it’s definitely not the most effective.
In recent years, a number of new technologies have emerged allowing people to share large files, host conferences and work together on documents in real time from completely different locations. Programs like Microsoft SharePoint allow members to edit projects simultaneously, and cloud-based software like Slack provide custom message boards organized around specific topics.
Technology can be intimidating at times, but it also offers countless opportunities to maximize productivity for those willing to embrace it in creative ways. All it takes these days is an up to date device, some helpful applications, and a suitable place to work.
Whether you’re a worker looking for ways to achieve your goals with more flexibility, or an employer searching for ways to maximize the productivity of your team when they’re spread out across a large area, it can really pay to keep these options in mind the next time tasks need to be completed on the go.