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Implementing Mobile Technologies in the Workplace

For an assignment this week, I was asked to create an implementation plan for the use of mobile technologies in the workplace. I examined a problem that more and more companies are facing now that we are in post-pandemic times: finding new procedures and ways of work to accommodate a growing work-from-home population while still maintaining inter-company communication and camaraderie.

Mobile technologies have become a must-have in today’s society. With the prevalence of smart devices and free or low-cost apps that can be used on them, mobile technologies make it possible to have the knowledge and supportive resources at our fingertips almost anytime and anywhere (American College of Education, 2023). Below is a plan to implement the use of mobile technology to increase communication between groups and build collaboration among employees who work for a company that has a physical campus in one state, but has a workforce where about 50% of its employees are geographically dispersed across the nation.

Employees first dispersed in the first quarter of 2020, at the onset of the COVID pandemic. The organization instructed all employees who could work remotely to work from home. Over the course of the two years, many employees moved to different cities or states to be closer to family and friends, while maintaining their employment. In 2023, the organization asked for employees to return to the physical campus, but with staff spread throughout the country, they quickly realized that this was not feasible. Now, they are in a position where new ways of work need to be developed, including a plan to increase communication between work groups and build collaboration among employees despite physical distance.

The company has two goals:

  1. To identify and employ the use of mobile technologies that allow for employees to collaborate with other individuals and stay actively engaged within their work team despite geographical dispersal, and

  2. To identify and employ mobile technologies that allow for communication across different work teams despite geographical dispersal.

There are several platforms that could be structured and implemented to meet both of the company's goals with one piece of technology. I recommend one of the following two:

Microsoft Teams is a robust collaborative tool that allows for communication among individuals within a team and with other teams. Teams offers various features including opportunities for web calls and instant messaging within the app. Additionally, Teams is linked to the rest of the Microsoft suite, so if the company uses other Microsoft products, what is done in Teams can be set up to automatically sync with features in Outlook, Planner, One Note, and other Microsoft applications. It can also sync to a blogging platform, which is becoming central to many jobs and occupations (Parry & Hracs, 2020).

Slack is another platform that could be used by the company. Slack has fewer features than Teams, but that also makes it easier to use. In Slack, individuals can be assigned to their work team and set up different channels for communication within their team. For example, there may be a channel with weekly updates, one for HR issues, a channel for professional development discussions/resources, a channel for each project the group manages, etc. Individuals on a team can contribute to the different conversations (“channels”). Other teams can be set up that include members from different work teams, focused on a project that requires collaboration, or a client/employer relationship.

To implement either technology, approval would need to be obtained from the administration. This would involve putting together a proposal and getting it before the President/CEO. As part of the proposal process, the IT department would need to assess security risks and certificates associated with the selected platform. Next, the IT department would need to support the company’s employees through the installation process and provide training on the use of the platform of choice. Recommendations for how to structure the program would also be beneficial so that there is consistency and equality among employees. It is recommended that the roll-out process first happens with a small cohort (1-2 small teams) so that potential confusion and barriers can be identified and solved before they affect all employees in the company.

With the deployment of new technology, one must be aware of potential ethical dilemmas that could challenge the implementation plan. Such dilemmas include individuals' access to others and others’ right to privacy. With mobile technologies, social bullying can become an enemy that is hard to see. Clear expectations would need to be stated upfront, backed with procedures, taught to employees, and have stated consequences in place for when policies are not met. With how quickly technology is developing, there are likely also ethical dilemmas that we haven’t even thought of yet. The task of identifying those issues and addressing them proactively is important to set employees up for a successful experience with mobile technologies.

Once the technology is fully deployed, the unified experience with the platform can open new lines of communication and pathways to collaboration. In addition to these benefits, employing mobile technologies is likely to lead to better time management and cost reduction at every level (e.g., no more need for regular travel) (Sharma et al., 2022).



References


American College of Education. (2023). DL5763 Trends in Instructional Design: Module 5 (Part 1 presentation). Canvas. https://ace.instructure.com/courses/1894395/external_tools/118428


Parry, J., & Hracs, B. J. (2020). From leisure to labour: Towards a typology of the motivations, structures and experiences of work‐related blogging. New Technology, Work & Employment, 35(3), 314–335. https://doi.org/10.1111/ntwe.12179


Sharma, S., Kumari, B., Ali, A., Yadav, R. K., Sharma, A. K., Sharma, K. K., Hajela, K., & Singh, G. K. (2022). Mobile technology: A tool for healthcare and a boon in a pandemic. Journal of Family Medicine & Primary Care, 11(1), 37–43.

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