Internal company relations are often considered secondary to those with the customer, yet it's important to remember that without effective communication between all team members, the business will inevitably suffer. The importance of internal communication is further heightened when considering the logistics of mobile working, which has grown in popularity over the years in response to workers demand for more flexible hours. Its popularity may rise further with recent pressure on the government by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development to extend the right to request flexible working to all workers.
When considering an effective approach to remote communication between staff, companies should look at multiple communication channels - such as mobile, landline, email and instant messaging. Conference calls can also be an appropriate alternative to a face-to-face meeting, eliminating expensive room hire costs and indeed travel costs. Video conferencing is another option, although these meetings can require facilities and technology that are beyond the means of some small businesses.
There are a vast range of options to choose from when considering mobile communications: so whether its smartphone technology to enable remote email access or free international calls for overseas business, chances are suppliers can meet your companys needs. For example, digital installation company Firstline Digital invested in smartphones and tailored software to allow engineers to input data straight into their devices, which is then transferred in real time to head office, avoiding multiple telephone calls. This saves the engineers time and ensures everything is recorded so there can be no confusion over appointments.
For businesses with an international focus, an effective approach to employee communications is even more crucial. In the case of online suit tailors, A Suit That Fits, a growing workforce split between the UK and the Nepalese tailor office meant that it was important to ensure communication was upheld between the two offices effectively and at a low price. By using the G1 phone on a cost effective tariff from T-Mobile with unlimited internet access, this problem was resolved. The co-founders use the devices to chat with their tailors in Nepal through instant messaging, which quickly clarifies answers to questions regarding suit manufacture.
Suitability of mobile working
Though the Benefits are clear to see from a working practices point of view, it must be noted that in any situation where staff are required to use technology to communicate with one another from remote locations, they are instilled with a certain level of trust by their employers. To ensure this trust is not misplaced, employers should consider putting in place some informal guidelines for appropriate usage.
It must also be noted, that mobile working does not suit all employees. Employees that prefer the buzz of a full working office may not warm to this more independent and self motivated way of working. As such, it's important that when implementing a mobile technology system, employees working preferences and styles are fully taken into account from the outset.
If and when all of these aspects have been considered, mobile working can in fact strengthen and improve communication among staff who are not based in the same location. While there is no real substitute for face-to-face communication, the option to send a text message, shoot across an instant message or pick up the phone to ask a colleague a question can save time in the long run and ensure tasks are completed more efficiently.
With the range of options in mobile devices, the strength of network coverage and the options to tailor a price plan to your precise needs, there is no reason why those colleagues who work remotely and do not meet on a regular basis cannot be every bit as productive and well informed as those who work in the office.