From GenMobile to telecommuting, the nature of work and the office are fast changing: nonprofits, are you ready to cut the cord?
"In the near future the term ‘office’ will be obsolete and the drab surroundings we associate with the executive life will be erased as a new model for work emerges. This emerging vision of the workplace will facilitate flexible working patterns in a society in which nine-to-five working is increasingly the exception rather than the rule." This opening statement from a new report by Aruba Networks, Workplace Futures, sets the table for an amazing opportunity confronting nonprofits and organizations: How to harness new mobile and cloud technologies to both make how and where they work more productive, efficient, and cost effective.
Remote work is starting to scale up significantly: 15% since 1990, growing to 50% of the workforce by 2020 (Cornell, Remote Work). And Millennials in particular prefer alternative work environments, so how are nonprofits to evolve and embrace this trend?
Here is a simple four-part mobile and flexible office strategy to get you started:
- Benchmark Current Systems: Look at how your organization communicates today, both internally and with external stakeholders. What technologies do you employ and how much do they cost? Look at both hard costs and soft costs, such as maintenance and inefficiencies in the older, disparate technologies.
- Create a Plan: Scan mainstream technology options offered today, and concentrate on opportunities for a) making your organization less dependent on specific physical locations; and b) how to create one seamless and easy-to-maintain system for uniting your workers and community through unified communications and mobile technologies like hotspots and applications.
- Implementation & Training: Roll out the changes in waves to avoid downtime and disruption. One advantage of cloud-based systems is that they are not linked to any geographic location(s). Also, make sure all your people are trained and up-to-speed on how to get the most out of the new systems and technology.
- Update the Plan: Don't stop there: make sure you have a process for keeping your plan current and rolling out new hardware and tech as it becomes available. Stay on top of the curve to maximize efficiency and your bottom line, leveraging resources like TechSoup, NTEN, and Idealware.
By following these four simple steps, your nonprofit can rest easy knowing that you’re on top of the tech and trends that stand to advance your mission. But always remember that whether it’s mobile, social media, hardware, or software, all technology is merely a tool- focus first on your goals before determining which resources are most relevant to help you achieve those.
The preceding is a guest post by Matt Bauer, Co-Founder & CEO of BetterWorld Wireless, which serves U.S. nonprofits with calling, texting, and data plans powered by Sprint, and donates a free phone or tablet to women and girls in need for every customer. Nonprofits can save 5% and get a free phone via their special TechSoup offer. Matt has over 25 years of management experience in telecommunications and co-founded BetterWorld Telecom in 2003, which provides landlines and internet connectivity to nonprofits.