Mobile Work Environments: Establish Clear Expectations on Staff Schedules

Along with benefits of improved productivity and reduced commute time, there are challenges in remote, mobile and telework environments. All employees should have clear expectations from their supervisor on schedules working from home and being in the office. Ideally, there should be staff meetings to review these expectations so everyone is clear. Then, have a group or shared calendar that staff can post their leave and telework days.

Below are some questions for managers to facilitate the dialogue with staff;

  1. Should telework or remote work days be fluctuating or should they be relatively set?
  2. If a staff person wishes to switch telework days because of personal reasons, will that be acceptable? And in which circumstances?
  3. Should staff stagger their schedules so that the office is always covered?
  4. If there is an important meeting or training, and some of the staff are teleworking should it be required for them to come to the office for certain functions? If so, what type of functions?
  5. If there are staff who do not want to telework and work from home, will that be acceptable?
  6. How will the staff know who is teleworking or working remotely? (e.g. shared calendars, separate telework schedule or staff meetings)

If you require assistance in facilitating these discussions for your remote work force, contact us!

Organizing Documents in the Cloud for Mobile Devices

With the increase in technology devises it is becoming more of a need to have documents and data stored in a central cloud based area that all mobile devices, such as Smart Phones, ipads, tablets and laptops can connect to. Most individual users who have Google accounts can store up to 1 GB free. Google just launched Google Drive in April 2012 which is intended to lure more Google customers to use Google for their document storage. There are other options such as DropBox, Microsoft SkyDrive and SugarSync. Below is a comparison table that outlines these options and some of the features and cost with each.

Features

Google Docs

Google Drive

DropBox

SugarSync

Microsoft SkyDrive

Apple iCloud

Free Storage 1 GB 5 GB 2 GB 5 GB 7 GB 5 GB
100 GB Storage Cost Free $4.99/ month $19.99/ month $14.99/month $4.16/month ($50/year) $100/ year (only 55 GB)
Operating Systems Windows/ Mac/ Android Windows/ Mac/ Android Windows/ Mac/ Android Windows/ Mac/ Android Windows/ Mac Remote Access/ iphone/ ipad
File Sharing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
File Systems Must upload documents. Need to create ‘collections’ to file documents Will sync data but need to create ‘collections’ to organize documents. Retains original file system from local drive Retains original file system from local drive. Can email files directly to profile Retains original file system from local drive Works great for Mac uses and Apple mobile devises.
View/ Edit Can edit and create files within Google Apps.  Can only view MS office docs, not edit Can edit and create files within Google Apps.  Can only view MS office docs, not edit Can only view and not edit online. Can only view not edit online. Can view and edit online all MS office docs n/a

Some good articles to learn more about document storage for mobile devises;

Google Heads to the Cloud for Storage, Wall Street Journal.

Google Drive’s Six Substantial Slip-ups, PC Magazine

Google Drive Launches, PC Magazine

Online Storage Comparison, Life Hacker