Top ten tips on mobile working

6. Access on the go

Salesmen on the road need instant access to all relevant data. At Firefly Tonics, staff use Salesforce.com, the web-hosted CRM service. Firefly boss Marcus Waley-Cohen says: “We find it very intuitive to work with and it syncs with Outlook. This means everyone can save emails and calls relating to a customer in a single place that’s accessible from any computer with an internet connection.”

7. Scribble away

The downside to smartphones is the keyboard. Even the nimblest fingers struggle. So why not try a digital pen, such as the Paper IQ, which works with a Blackberry? The Paper IQ looks and writes just like a normal pen. Handwriting recognition software inputs your script on the Blackberry, making it one of the fastest ways to record your thoughts. Digital pens are more than just a gimmick. Users include NHS Trusts and our man on the road (and in the sky) Denys Shortt.

8. Build a mobile website

The latest craze to keep staff and customers in touch when away from their workstations is to build an app. Trouble is, there are quite a few types of phone these days, so you’ll need to build an app for iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, Nokia etc. The alternative is to build a mobile website, which will be accessible from all phones via a web browser. Marek Pawlowski, founder of the annual MEX mobile-user-experience conference, used a mobile web development tool called Bemoko Live to produce a mobile site. He says: “We knew that the people attending the MEX conference would have different mobile phones. We didn’t want to create a mobile app that would be fine for people with iPhones but inaccessible for everyone else. Bemoko Live provided the most effective way to create a mobile website that worked for all phones, not just touch screens. The site enabled people to see the conference programme, to display Twitter comments on the conference directly on the site and to access important information. Best of all, we could update useful delegate information in real time so people knew of last-minute changes to the event as soon as they happened.”

9. Cut the cord

A time-honoured sales tip is to stand up when making sales calls. The theory is that standing up improves posture and thus speaking tone; the freedom of movement translates to greater emotional expressiveness; and staff are discouraged from sliding into a comatose heap in their chairs. So give them complete mobility in the office by cutting their wires. A Plantronics wireless headset lets them wander around like actors on stage at the Old Vic. Lucy Newcombe, marketing director of Computershare, says: “Wireless headsets allow me to receive and make calls whatever I’m doing. It is liberating!”

10. Where’s that laptop?

Staff taking equipment out of the office can be a nightmare for your IT department. They’ll spend half the time wondering
who has got what. The solution? Computrace is a software package which geographically tracks laptops and phones using GPS and wifi. IT staff can access devices remotely, so if equipment is stolen or moved outside a defined perimeter, the data can be remotely deleted. Costs £30.95 per laptop per year or £12.95 per mobile per year.

Want another 17 tips? Read the May issue of Real Business magazine for the full feature. Subscribe here.

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