Q&A: How are you using mobile devices in the workplace?

There’s no question that mobile devices have made their way into the workplace. Now, many companies are deciding how to securely manage those devices, as well as leverage them for the best impact on their business. At Inkling, it’s always exciting to hear how other companies are using mobile devices, especially for their content needs.

Recently, we sat down with three business leaders to see how they’re using mobile devices at work: Arthur Zilberman, CEO of LaptopMD.com; Keely Turner, Vice President of Growth for Grabb Mobile; and Michael Bremmer, CEO of Telecomquotes.com. Below, they’ve shared their reasons for using mobile devices in the workplace, how it has impacted their business, and what they think is in store for the future.

1. Was “going mobile” a decision that you made, or was using mobile devices for work purposes something that just happened naturally within your company?

Arthur Zilberman: We’re in the business of repairing smartphones and tablets, so we have such intimate knowledge of their capabilities. It didn’t take long to realize the use they could have for our service.

Keely Turner: All of our employees came to work with their personal smartphone, so it made sense to utilize that. We’re in a time when we do most things from our phones—kill time with games, chat with our friends, order pizza—why not work from our mobile device as well?

Michael Bremmer: It was pretty natural—most of my employees are under 30 and highly mobile.

2. What is your biggest concern about your employees using mobile devices to access company materials?

AZ: My biggest concern would be security. I don’t want our passwords or financial information to be compromised by phones or tablets with malware or bugs.

KT: While accessing company materials through mobile devices is convenient, there are sometimes security concerns that come with the ease of sharing.

MB: Quality of life—I want my employees to be able to unplug and relax during nonbusiness hours.  

3. What is the biggest benefit about having a workforce equipped with mobile devices?

AZ:  I can stay abreast of everything going on with my business remotely, as can my employees. It saves time and it even saves money. With all of our information on devices and clouds, I don’t have to spend on servers or have rooms full of paperwork stacked to the ceiling.

KT: With mobile, we can work from anywhere—we don’t have to be inside a cubicle to get things done. The flexibility of being able to work from anywhere is irreplaceable.  

MB: They can work from anywhere. I pay people to accomplish goals and if they can do that effectively from a soccer game, I don’t care.

4. What feedback have you received from your employees about using mobile devices for work?

AZ: My employees love it, especially because I usually provide a $50 co-pay on devices that I know will be used for business. If one of my managers needs a tablet or a new Smartphone, I realize it’s in part to help his productivity at work, so I will pay half the price.

KT: For the most part, the feedback has been positive about mobile device usage for work. My employees find mobile devices helpful for clear and concise communication, staying updated, and staying on task.

MB: They love it, but, again, we have to be careful about expecting people to be always on.  That was an issue early on.

5. How do you see companies using mobile devices in the future?

AZ: Wearable tech will allow for even more convenience and productivity. It’s only the beginning.

KT: I see companies using mobile devices for collaboration in the future. We’re already there in terms of notes and edits on documents, but I think the future holds quality design collaboration. We can already communicate globally, but what if we could also create, design, and work globally. This exists on multiple platforms, but I think the future will bring them together in one comprehensive package—GitHub, Google Drive, Photoshop, screen sharing, and Skype, unified.

MB: Mobilization is going to be the biggest demand/expectation of this generation, which will allow them to work effectively from anywhere.  

6. Any last thoughts, or future plans for your mobile strategy?

AZ: My employees with iPhones are pre-ordering the Apple Watch, which will be even more convenient for them. The scheduling that used to take a clunky organizer or a wall calendar is able to be done from the comfort of a wristwatch now. It’s amazing. Along with the smartwatches, we plan to implement a GPS tracking system and Google Glasses for all of our outcalls. If one of my engineers goes out on a job, his partner can stay at the office and watch the repair remotely while servicing a device in the office. Wearable technology allows us to do more at once.

KT: Human interaction can never be replaced, but going mobile opens up so many great opportunities and conveniences while breaking many barriers.

MB:  Don’t “mobilize” your workers for the “cool” factor.  Try it out with key employees first, get real feedback, and realize there’s a learning curve. It will take some patience.

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