The Work-Anywhere Future of Mobility

Last week, I had to go into a bank and make a transaction with a teller on behalf of my aging father. (Yes, they still have tellers!) Only Jasmine (the bank employee) and I weren’t face-to-face, unless you count the fact that she was speaking to me in Greenbelt, Maryland, USA from an ATM-like structure with a small screen from her facility in India. We could see each other just fine, and she handled my request in minutes. And I felt like I’d interacted with her in person.

It was a “work-anywhere” moment, where technology made it possible for Jasmine to start building a career with an employer in Maryland without moving across the world, and the company put the high-touch in their tech. It’s an illustration of how we will increasingly see changes in employers’ workforce options, and if the mobility industry is perceptive (and we know it is), it can optimize these changes.  

Related: Mobility: Global Assignment to Leadership Pipeline

There are lots of examples of the way work-anywhere technology brings change and promise for the future. In the Worldwide ERC® report, The Perfect Storm: Talent Mobility Leaders Decode the Future, Anupam Singhal, Monaeo, discussed how the ubiquity of mobile devices, augmented by cloud computing, have raised expectations that employees can use different devices to log in and access the information they want anywhere, anytime, without having to use multiple passwords for multiple systems.

“Wherever I am, the service needs to appear, do what needs to get done and then recede,” says Singhal, who studies the needs of mobile employees with an emphasis on business travelers.

“Give me what I need, where I need it. So how does that happen? We use multiple devices in the work context. The services in question must be delivered via an integrated platform that makes sense whether I’m using a mobile device or a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet, or a phone.”

The Perfect Storm report notes that work-anywhere tools will enable mobility and improve employee experience.

“Self-service portals must work well on a variety of platforms. Integrated systems that share information among employers and service providers will reduce irritating pain points, as happens when mobile employees and families must provide the same information multiple times to various participants in the mobility process. Such integration also will make it easier for employees to find answers to their own mobility questions; facilitate the collection, analysis and sharing of data; and improve the customer experience.”

From a future of work collaboration perspective, mobility professionals will need to gain skills in technology, advocacy, and virtual teamwork and must learn to be more flexible, since a global mobility program is very difficult to run from a single location, so there will be teammates in other countries and regions.

Related: It Pays to Be a Digital Nomad in Vermont

Sean Collins, Talent Mobility Search, agrees. “Virtual work is a natural extension of mobility, and it provides options for mobility professionals to help business leaders fulfill their objectives.”

Collins posits a few sample solutions like these future of mobility scenarios: When immigration regulations slow the quick deployment of talent, technology could facilitate an employee’s start date remotely until the immigration process is complete. Or, rather than a software company sending programmers to a client’s location for a short-term project, a geographically-dispersed virtual team could be recommended. Another prospect: orientation and housing tours could be conducted with a virtual reality (VR) headset instead of sending people halfway around the world to check out a neighborhood.  

For employers and the workforce, the possibilities are stunning – and the potential impact on mobility substantial. Sure, technology may make some talent deployment obsolete… but at the same time it creates an opening for mobility professionals to manage the changes it brings.  

Read Worldwide ERC®’s report: The Perfect Storm: Talent Mobility Leaders Decode the Future for more work-anywhere concepts and future of work change strategic partner tips.

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