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Is your mobile friend or foe?

Is your mobile friend or foe? Do you curse its existence each time you hear it vibrate, or is it an indispensable friend that you can’t bear to be without for more than five minutes? Love it or loathe it, it will have become a vital part of your business over the last few years.

According to research from Sage, where you’re from can influence where you sit on the mobile spectrum. Businesses from emerging economies such as Brazil, South Africa and Malaysia are more likely to view mobile technology as having a positive impact on their work/life balance. Whereas, businesses in established economies such as France, Germany and the UK fear that the lines between their business and personal lives are becoming blurred.

Let’s be clear, mobile technology should enable your business, not disable your life. Just because it’s possible to work from anywhere, doesn’t mean that you have to. It should provide the flexibility to spend more time with your family, not the obligation to check emails at the dinner table. If you get the balance right, mobile technology can help you to take control of your life, increase productivity across your business and build deeper and more valuable relationships with your customers.

To help you strike that balance and encourage you to build a more positive relationship with your mobile device, I’ve pulled together some top tips for mobile working:

1. Get social
Social tools for listening to and responding to customers are a brilliant way to build loyalty. Twitter and Facebook allow business to build conversations with customers that can lead to sales and more delighted customers.

2. Think about business apps
Recent research from Flurry from Yahoo! shows that use of productivity apps worldwide more than doubled last year. With these apps you can manage customer and sales data, access accounting information, run payroll and plan resources on the move. From text-to-speak tools to file-sharing apps, work out what you need and make sure you and all your colleagues are in sync.

3. Keep your channels clear
Avoid mixing business with personal when it comes to mobile and social. Work out and separate the channels that work for your business and personal life.

4. Focus on results
Mobile working gives colleagues and employees freedom but can bring tension over presenteeism and working hours. Keep the business focused on outcomes, not on the clock.

5. Manage your mobile device, don’t let it manage you
Have some rules around usage and share them with colleagues and your family. For example, in my family we switch off our mobiles when we’re having dinner together.