Whether you’re an accountant, consultant or IT whiz, there’s a good chance that work and travel go hand in hand for you. Here’s a short guide to the hardware, software and remote services and components you should consider the need for a smooth and productive work experience when you’re on the road.
You’re spoilt for choice in this day and age, from smartphones, phablets, tablets to laptops, it has never been easier and cheaper to purchase a computing device you need for your mobile office. The majority of mobile devices can handle your basic email, word processing, cloud storage and communication needs – you just need to weigh up the battery life, the processing power you need to run software and the device size/portability.
If you need to print off documents or labels while you’re on the road, there are mobile thermal printers which can connect to your hardware and operating system of choice whether it’s Android, iOS, Windows or OSx – they don’t require inks or toner, and the latest models can fit easily into a travelling bag. You can also get similarly compact portable scanners if that fits your requirements better.
Whether it’s customer relationship management or document and workflow management, you should ensure the software you choose to access critical business information is either cloud-based or accessible remotely. This means your head office and your mobile office are integrated and you can access the same information whether you are on the road, in the office or at home. In addition to being able to access information it also reduces errors, duplication of data and reduces the time spent looking for documents. They type of communication and document software apps and tools for the mobile worker include:
- Document sharing and control apps: The ability to access the right documents and information is critical to the success of a mobile office. For this purpose, it’s worthwhile making use of an online, cloud-based storage service that keeps all your documents in one place where they can be securely accessed and edited by you and other team members. For example with a Mobile Printer, you can print hard copy documents where signatures are required and scan the signed copy with your smartphone back to your cloud storage
- Collaboration and project management: No team project can succeed without good collaboration. With cloud-based project platforms, you can collaborate with clients or internal teams on projects while you are out of office. They allow you to 4track tasks/productivity, access knowledge and expertise, measure progress against deadlines and more. It serves as a great communication tool as your team are all on the same page about each phase or stage of projects because you are all seeing the same live dashboards and calendars.
As previously noted, a cloud service can be hugely beneficial for a mobile office because it lets you access business data with a mobile device wherever you can find an internet connection.
It’s worth remembering that the cloud can offer much more than just data storage. Many popular business applications today are available in cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) form. This allows you to pay a small monthly access fee for the software instead of purchasing it up front, along with having to ensure it’s installed and up to date across all your work devices.
Setting up a mobile office can be a complex and time-consuming undertaking. If the idea makes you want to run for the hills, you can go a step further with PCaaS (PC-as-a-service). This is where a third-party provider manages both your hardware and software for a fixed monthly cost, including its configuration, deployment and maintenance.
Similarly, if you need to make use of your in-house office printer or scanner while you’re on the road, a managed print service is usually the best option. It allows you to wirelessly and securely print business documents from any device or location, and remotely monitor and manage your print devices and workflow.
Embracing the mobile office can save you a ton of money on office space and tech equipment, and greatly boost your productivity and speed at which you can respond to customer needs. With the size of the global mobile workforce tipped to reach 1.75 billion in 2020, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing.
These are just the basic considerations – if you’re looking at setting up a mobile office, check out how we can help.