David Bates, Vice President, Marketing and eCommerce, Xerox North American Resellers

Defining today’s workplace is no longer as clear cut as it was a decade ago. Gone are the days of workers based at a main office, tied to their desktop computer. Today, thanks to the rise of smartphones and tablets, more and more employees are working wherever there’s a WiFi connection.

Although technology has helped make work simpler, it has also added a variety of new challenges. Xerox recently invited a group of entrepreneurs, technology innovators, emerging leaders and business executives to discuss just that. During the “Dreaming Session,” participants collaborated to create a picture of the ideal workplace, while also identifying areas for improvement in their own day-to-day business lives.

Steve Hoover, CEO of PARC, summed up the group’s common challenge best: how can we make technology and processes adapt to us, versus us adapting to technology? Whether it was the traveling business executive using WebEx in the airport to conduct conferences, or the young small enterprise staying connected with virtual offices around the globe, everyone looks to technology for creating a smarter, more agile workplace.

Creating an agile workplace is especially critical for small- or medium-sized businesses (SMBs) who cannot afford to divert attention away from core operations. Here are five tips for SMBs to become a more “A.G.I.L.E” workplace:

  • Adapt – Business owners and IT departments need to be prepared to embrace the trend of workplace mobility. Identify or adapt technology that fits today’s “Bring Your Own Device” environment and allows employees to work from anywhere on any device.
  • Go green – Reduce energy consumption with a single energy-efficient device that can print, copy, scan, fax and email. Turn off equipment when it’s not in use. Be selective about what you print, use both sides of paper and recycle the paper you use.
  • Invest – Not only is it important to purchase the latest technologies, but the solutions should offer security options as well. This protects your most important investment: your business.
  • Leverage – Take advantage of the latest technology and services that will streamline everyday business processes and improve productivity. Innovations like cloud computing make it easy to stay in sync between multiple devices and locations.
  • Economize – Opportunities for savings can be discovered in nearly every area of business. Allow employees to work virtually to save office space and energy. Consolidate office equipment with a multifunction printer. Challenge suppliers and vendors to uncover and reduce the hidden costs in their products and services.

In honor of National Small Business Week, what are your tips for helping SMBs succeed and be more agile?