Next time you’re on a busy train or stuck in a line of traffic, remember this sobering thought: by 2015, there’ll be 7 billion people on the planet – that’s one heck of a busy train! 1.5 billion of those people will be mobile workers, some of whom are already using technology that brings us closer together and allows us to collaborate as a global workforce.
So, what’s the impact of a growing mobile workforce on the business world?
The world is getting smaller
This isn’t just the cramped-train effect, but, as more people connect, the world starts to feel a lot smaller. Fuelling this growth of the mobile workforce is a boom in mobile devices and Cloud technologies that allow us to work anywhere and stay connected to our data and our colleagues around the clock.
It also allows us to work together despite geography. So, it may be that the best person for the job isn’t the nearest. They might not even be able to come into the office. But with mobile and Cloud technology, businesses can work with talent wherever it may be found; they can recruit from further afield and work with people that give local insight into foreign territories. So, the opportunity is exciting! But what technology supports it?
Software is already available for small and big businesses to work with the rest of the world. A service like Elance is interesting, because it helps you find talent to work with – anywhere – but it also provides tools to help manage the collaboration.
We use project management software Basecamp to manage our virtual team. Since we all work apart, it’s a great way for us to keep track of our progress, discuss our work and share files – without clogging up our inboxes. There’s other collaboration software out there that comes highly recommended by our friends, including Yammer and Jive.
It’s great that you can set up a virtual work environment using software like Basecamp, but sometimes you can’t beat a bit of face-time. When working in a global team, video conferencing software is essential. iMeet makes it really easy to set up a virtual meeting room with clear audio, HD video, screen and file sharing. Video is great for building relationships with workers you may never meet in person – and also for making decisions and resolving conflicts without the back-and-forth of email.
When you are setting up your virtual meeting, bear in mind the time difference between you and your global team. We use a website called SameTimeAs, which answers the simple question ‘when it’s something O’clock here, what time is it there?’
The world is getting smaller – and smart software and apps are bringing down the barriers to productivity on a global scale. The opportunity to collaborate with expertise wherever it’s found is greater than ever before. For businesses making the most of a connected, global and mobile workforce, the world is your oyster!
Find a laptop-friendly workspace in your city with WorkSnug, a website and free mobile app that collects and shares reviews of connected coffee shops, coworking spaces and business centres around the world.
Photo credit: Entrer dans le rêve