Aaron Slindee, Marketing Analyst
Xerox Indirect Channels Business Group

We have all seen the evolution of the mobile workforce, but not all mobile workers have the same business processes. Depending on the work flow of the mobile employee the solutions can be vastly different. For example, people in business development often provide presentations to potential partners while analysts want to log on to virtual networks to download company data. In a study conducted by Cisco, five distinct types of mobile workers were defined.

  • On-site movers: individuals who work on one site, but move around within it such as IT technicians.
  • Yo-Yos: work from a fixed location with traditional business travel.
  • Pendulums: alternate between two fixed locations such as home office and employer’s office.
  • Nomads: work in a number of places constantly moving amongst them such as an outside sales agent.
  • Carriers: work while on the move, transporting goods such as truck drivers.

And most likely, all of these mobile workers will be using their personal smartphones or tablets to conduct business in and out of the office. According to a recent article in Forbes, the average mobile worker globally carries 3.5 mobile devices including tablets, laptops, smartphones and net books.

So how do small businesses provide these on-the-go employees with the printing and document management tools they need? To help, we developed Xerox PrintBack. This mobile app is free and enables your mobile workforce to print office documents, photos and web pages from anywhere to the default printer they already use.

Small businesses whose mobile employees are not in the office – often consisting of nomads, carriers, and pendulums – could also benefit from wireless printing. Many of our multifunction printers (MFPs), such as the WorkCentre 6015 color MFP, are Wi-Fi enabled and offer digital workflow capabilities that are ideal for a mobile workforce and maximize office space.

There are a host of additional problems for small business including how to keep the company’s data secure, monitor employees, and back-up data on mobile devices. Most of the solutions for these problems, such as Mobile Device Management (MDM), are designed for a minimum number of devices. One of the best solutions for a company of any size is good policy such as requiring strong device passwords, automatic shut off, and reporting missing devices as well as establishing clear expectations with employees on the use of mobile devices.

What additional pain points has the mobile workforce added to your small business processes?