With the influx of mobile devices – smartphones, tablets, laptops – and the widespread availability of internet and Wi-Fi connectivity, the 9-5 era of workplace traditionalism has evolved. Employers and employees alike are embracing the notion that boundaries between the home and office are loosely interwoven and that a culture of connectivity bridges this formerly transparent divide. Gone are the days where cubicles and time clocks equated with profitable business models. Today, high-performing employees equipped with an internet connection are revolutionizing the workforce.

What does this mean for managers?

The cultural shift of the 21st century workplace has transformed how and where business is conducted. Offering alternative workspace strategies encourages a flexibility that will help attract and retain top talent, drive employee engagement, increase productivity, reduce costs, and reiterate the support of a work-life balance. In order to successfully implement and manage a mobile workforce, several fundamental concepts will need to be adopted, both to maintain connectivity and leverage productivity.

Five leadership strategies for managing a mobile workforce;

1.  Develop and drive the company culture. Set in motion the understanding that as a manager, you find value in working work into your employees’ lives, not merely working life into their work. Create a culture where telecommuting is accepted by peers as a viable option to high-performing workers.
2.  Incentivize peak performance. Leverage telecommuting as an incentive to employees who consistently exceed expectations and hit targets. The option of working remotely should not be expected, but rather rewarded through a set of pre-established goals.
3.  With flexibility, comes respect and accountability. When high performers are given the opportunity to leverage the reward of working remotely, an element of trust is developed among the manager, team and mobile employee. Employees are held accountable for their contributions, whether they are working a 9-5 shift in the office or from the comfort of their own home.
4.  Facilitate fluid channels of communication. It’s imperative that the team functions cohesively by offering complete and thorough support of the remote initiative. Open streams of communication between mobile employees and the onsite team are essential to effective collaboration, thereby eliminating a sense of disconnect or isolation.
5.  Measure and effectively track ROI. Calculating the impact and benefit that a strategy of this nature has on a company is crucial to its long-term success. The program will essentially evolve and develop as new technologies enter the marketplace. Effectively monitoring the program’s efficiency will help ensure the appropriate investment of time and effort.

As a manager, the success of hiring and retaining a high-caliber talent pool rests firmly on foundations that facilitate a 21st century mobile workplace environment. The structure of the workplace is changing, and rapidly at that. From Millenials to Boomers, each generation seeks to incorporate a work-life balance that fosters engagement and leverages potential, without compromising either. By expanding your opportunities for a flexible workspace and aligning your hiring processes accordingly, you will attract stronger talent. Perhaps your next interview will be held on Skype…