The professional businessperson today inhabits a completely different world than his or her parents did. In just one generation, many companies have replaced a traditional workforce with a mobile one. While these organisations still have key employees, they may not work in the same state or even the same country. From 1980 through the early years of the 21st century, most companies did not have the security, storage, and connectivity that today’s younger workforce takes for granted.

Out of necessity, people kept most information to themselves. When they needed to share it, the only options available were sending emails to multiple people or working with outdated project management tools that weren’t user-friendly at all.

Everything has changed now that we have entered what Amar Hanspal, Senior Vice President of the IPG product group at Autodesk, refers to as “The Age of Abundance”. Business executives and entrepreneurs of today connect via the cloud, which makes collaborating with their teammates simple regardless of their physical location. Even the smallest devices today have computational power that was unheard of 10 or 20 years ago. As if instant, 24-hour connectivity and huge storage capacity wasn’t impressive enough, the cost of working on the cloud is thousands of times lower than the cost to store data at the close of the 20th century.

Evolve Or Die

Companies that are hesitant to give up the traditional way of doing business and embrace a collaborative mobile workforce should take lessons from Borders, Blockbuster, and Kodak. Once industry giants, these organisations no longer exists because the competition was one step ahead of them. They saw the future and gave the customers what they wanted. One way competitors were able to do this was learning how to leverage information from multiple sources. In other words, companies that survived the transition from physical to electronic books, DVD movies to instant streaming, and film to digital camera embraced the technology that changed the way they worked.

Results Of A Large Mobile Workforce

The concept of working 9 to 5, with the bulk of those hours at the same desk in some corporate headquarters, has become a relic of the past. Not only has cloud computing, tablet computers, smartphones, and other technology allowed for greater flexibility in work schedules, these advances mean people can connect to their work at any time. While some managers have worried that such arrangements could hurt productivity, this fear is unfounded. According to a recent study conducted by Connected World Technology, it’s the traditional arrangements that are unproductive.

More than 50 percent of today’s businesses allow for and benefit from mobility while one-quarter have employees who work from home. Additionally, half of all workers who participated in the research by Connected World Technology state that they are fine with being available for work 24 hours a day. A different research study, conducted by ZK Research in the United Kingdom, provides details about the mobile workforce that are even more promising. Between 84 and 91 percent of the business owners surveyed reported improvements in customer satisfaction, project management, and team collaboration.