Our planet’s population is more connected than it has ever been before. Technology has opened up so many opportunities to see new places, meet new people, and find new ways of working. Because of this, we are becoming not just a global nation of travellers, but also an “on-the-go workforce”.
This means we are telecommuting – i.e. working from home, instead of coming into the office. But it also means we are physically commuting, too! The rise of cheaper travel and flight comparison websites means business trips are much more affordable and commonplace, and the internet means we are never very far away from our colleagues.
Human Resources should let their employees “fly the nest” more often
Some HR professionals are reluctant to let their employees work from home, or travel too often. This is because many traditional HR systems chain their administrator to the desk – and this can hinder progress in two key ways.
Firstly, because the HR administrator can only process information directly via their office computers, they often get stung by a backlog of paper pushing when employees return from working away. But beyond this, strategic HR partners are also responsible for keeping their workforce engaged. And how can you keep an on-the-go workforce engaged, when they’re never around?
Despite these difficulties, HR professionals should let their employees “fly the nest” more often. Why? Well, the freedom for employees to travel, when the occasion calls for it, opens your business up to more networking and growth opportunities. But perhaps more importantly, providing your employees with travel opportunities actually makes them happier, according to Forbes!
How to engage employees while they travel
The challenges of engaging a travelling workforce are easier than ever to overcome. And there’s one very important thing you can do, as an HR professional, to remove a huge obstacle: Invest in web-based HR software.
Remember what I said about being “chained to your desk” with a traditional HR system? It doesn’t need to be like that! Web-based HR software allows you to access your employee database, and process employee information and requests, from literally any device, and anywhere in the world (as long as you have an internet connection).
Keeping your workforce engaged is all about making sure they can always feel the “pulse” of your company. And this means keeping them connected with your core systems and software. Web-based HR software can offer tremendous benefits to employees who travel. For example:
- Submit expenses. Employees shouldn’t need to wait a week (or more) to fill out an expense claim form, just because they’re not going to be in the office for a while. Some cloud-based HR systems will allow employees to fill out expense forms at the same time as they generate the expense – by simply taking a photo of a receipt with their mobile phone!
- Tap into company news and announcements. If you use your HR system to distribute company news or important announcements, then a web-based system will keep your mobile employees in the loop, too. They can simply check their mobile phone to see what the latest word on the grapevine is.
- Communicate with colleagues. Many HR systems include company “intranets” for internal communication. On-site solutions limit this communication to the workplace. But with web-based HR systems like peoplehr.com, fairsail.com, octopus hr etc employees can often chat and interact with one another from anywhere in the world.
Of course, the benefits to you as a business leader, or an HR administrator, are also clear. You can approve holiday requests while on the train, generate forgotten reports without having to come back into the office, and track absence and attendance from the other side of the world.