Mobile workforce of critical importance now
With the current worldwide coronavirus pandemic resulting in the forced closure of education and public facilities globally and having governments around the world recommending that organisations restrict movement, with employees requested to stay at home, mobile workers have never been more important to the survival of businesses.
While such measures are undoubtedly sensible and prudent, allowing their staff to fulfil their daily duties outside of the office is unmapped territory for most companies and is typically a scenario that was never planned for.
Affected employees are also finding the changes to be a greater culture shock than they had anticipated, leaving them feeling isolated, ‘out of the loop’, and, in many cases, somewhat chaotic. Unfortunately for South Africa, the reality is that despite the growing range of tools and gadgets that have become available over the past decade, with the associated advances in new technologies, very few local businesses have opened their minds to the possibility of an off-site workforce and are finding themselves unprepared for such an adaptation.
Here at Camsoft, however, it is business as usual as we have for many years now thoroughly embraced the remote working model. The vast majority of Camsoft’s employees carry their office around with them, allowing them to work whenever and from wherever they choose – an allowance that has resulted in them being more productive, responsive and generally a lot happier in their jobs.
The longevity of employment by most of the Camsoft staff speaks for itself in this regard. We don’t just talk the talk, we also walk it, embracing the technologies that we put our name behind in our own business. One of the most important tools that makes this model work for us is our customer relationship management (CRM) system, Maximizer CRM.
This advanced and well-established software solution allows us to remotely access a centralised client database, manage our workflows, communicate with our customers and each other, and always keep accurate and up-to-date records. We also find it an indispensable tool that minimises the time-consuming administerial functions such as the compiling of reports. From our experience in the industry, we have noticed that many companies still unfortunately rely on antiquated spreadsheets and manually compiled reports that are not only arduous, but clumsy to produce and a huge waste of valuable time. By implementing a CRM system such as Maximizer, employees are able to access a centralised and customised cloud-based database that can contain all of their customer information and important interactions. Such a centralised database represents one version of the truth that can be updated by all relevant employees, reducing the possibility of fragmented islands of information stored on individual spreadsheets that are also at risk of being lost at some stage.
With a cloud-based and mobile accessible CRM system in place, employees constantly create valuable data as part of their daily activities and it encourages users to create the information, make the notes and log changes on the go, reducing the need for after-the-fact admin.
Furthermore, management gets to identify and focus on important issues and priorities. The knock-on effect of a CRM system is that the quality of communications is improved while the necessity for meetings is reduced and those that do happen, become more productive. Dashboards are also produced by the constant input of data across the organisation that can then be used to keep one’s finger on the pulse of the business without having to wait for feedback meetings. And CRM systems don’t need to keep office hours, of course, as they are available 24/7 without being limited by physical walls or borders.
“Home users also need to have their devices and access to Internet-based resources protected with adequate cyber security measures, just like in their normal office workplaces,” comments Ruben Maasdorp, technical manager at local cyber security company Cybervision. “Work computers and other devices that already have the necessary endpoint protection installed at work should be protected sufficiently when taken to use at the home if the users make sure that such applications aren’t disabled in any way while out of the office,” adds Maasdorp.
There is no doubt that pandemics such as the current coronavirus will leave a lasting legacy of changes to the world economy and that the face of the local South African working environment will be also be altered going forward. Coupled with economic uncertainties and crumbling infrastructure, the work-from-home model will also remain far more relevant post the pandemic. Other benefits of such a model are that businesses will manage to save on office space expenses and physical resources, while employees get to avoid road congestion and unreliable public transport, to name but a few.