Monday, November 26, 2007

Mobile Workers (M-Workers) Part II

A few weeks ago I did a posting on mobile workers - those professionals who spend at least 10 hours per week away from their office and need to remain connected via technology. I've had some great comments off line from readers who wanted to know here's part two.

Several people have asked, " What are the typical characteristics of an M-Worker?"

Returning again to Cisco's Study "Understanding and Managing the Mobile Workforce" the study found that mobile workers tend to be:
* Male (Women 67% less likely to be mobile workers than men)
* Those with a degree level education
* Self employed workers are almost twice as likely to be mobile than paid workers -- in part because we need to be, especially when we serve multiple clients

The study even looked at personality characteristics which are dominant in mobile workers, including the need to be an independent decision maker, being a disciplined achiever, and embracing curiosity and exploration. Flexibility and adaptability go hand in hand with the personality of an MWorker (and interestingly the characteristics that I always hired for for many years as a manager).

Another interesting part of the study points to the fact that work-life balance and stress management are key concerns for the mobile workforce. For any of you MWorkers reading this post, how many briefcases/suitcases do you have packed, ready to go by your front door? A few weeks ago, I was joking with a colleague that rather than having a fixation on purses, when I worked as a virtual manager and had staff in 10 countries, my fixation was on briefcases that I could take on and off planes. I certainly know first hand the stress that can be created by living and working on the road. If you are looking for some work-life balance tidbits, I hope that you will jump on over to my Your Balanced Life! blog.

So what are some recommended management approaches for mobile workers? The Cisco study has some great recommendations including some of the more common sense ones (which take on new meaning for M-Workers:
* Providing space for M-Workers to do their job -- so avoid micro-managing
* Aim to understand the context of the M-Workers working world (and their realities)
* Build a high degree of trust with your M-Team
* Ensure that communication is clear, to the point, unambiguous, and delivered at a convenient time
* Reward and recognize M-Workers within the organization (even if they spend more time on the road than at their desk)
and finally, my favourite - invest in team building for your M-Team, ensuring that staff do get to know one another and are able to build relationships with their managers and peers.

I do hope that you will check out the Cisco study -- it's right on the mark and will be of great benefit to any organization with M Workers.

As always - I welcome your comments -- what is your take on M-Workers needs, management strategies and team support? Feel free to comment below or drop me an email.

Have a wonderful week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

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