The rise and rise of remote working
Data from Spark Lab shows over 70% of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) are providing their employees with access to business systems and tools to work remotely.
While that means employees can, and will, spend more time away from the office, that's not necessarily a bad thing for businesses.
Remote access has been recognised by SME owners as one of the key ways to further their business potential – not just allowing employees to be contactable via email, but providing full document sharing and information circulation for complete mobility.
This latest data comes from Spark Lab's partner, Digital Journey, which discovered that of the 70% of SMEs that provide access to business systems remotely, document access and access to financial information has increased the most on previous years.
One explanation for this growth is the rise of services like Office 365 and Xero.
Another recent Spark survey of business people found that 62% believe mobile technology will give NZ businesses the greatest technology edge in 2018.
Spark business marketing head Sally Gordon says there's clearly a trend towards collaboration and document sharing services, and the benefits for SMEs can be great.
“Moving your applications and software to cloud-based platforms enables you to access and manage everything, anywhere with just an internet browser, as opposed to being confined to your computer's hard drive.
“Cloud-based applications foster stronger collaboration across different workplaces, whether it be at home, in a café or between meetings. They also provide business continuity when moving offices or during an unplanned event like an earthquake.
“There are a lot of rewards on the social side of things too, with employees able to work flexibly to suit their family or other commitments.”
Here are Spark Lab's top tips to make your business more mobile:
- Set up your digital infrastructure so employees can work from anywhere, at any time.
- Set boundaries based on trust. Be clear about what's expected of employees. For example, what hours do they need to be online and available?
- Don't forget data. Employees working mobile may require more mobile data. Have measures in place to manage usage, such as mobile data caps or an unlimited data plan that removes the risk of going over.
- Stay secure. There are a few easy steps to keep your information secure while working remotely. Enabling 2-factor authentication is easy to do, and often free. It means a hacker would need more than your password to get in. Another really easy way to keep your data safe is by using an incognito or private browser. This stops your browsing history from being remembered, including your search history and auto-fill information.