While physical checks and paper timesheets feel like a distant memory, it wasn’t so long ago managers spent Fridays cutting paychecks and making sense of hand-written time punches. Many business owners have found digital solutions for the most manual of tasks. With piecemeal implementation, however, productivity gains haven’t been fully realized.

This is the perfect time for businesses to reinvent their operations and think strategically about digital solutions and the benefits of going mobile. With the proliferation of new tools and workers’ growing preference for flexibility, there’s really no reason you can’t do everything from managing projects to scheduling and paying staff all from your phone.

Here are key considerations for adopting new solutions as you commit to modernizing in 2021.

Find the right technology partner 

Taking on a new tool can feel daunting but it doesn’t have to be. You need to find the right partners–including your technology providers and vendors–who are ready, willing and able to help you get more done in less time.

Look for solutions that already serve your industry or business size. For instance, a scheduling app that works for a 1,000-person call center probably won’t work for a small, family-run pest control company. Ask a vendor if they have customer use cases similar to yours or references in your industry. Make a list of the features that matter most for you and your workers, and find providers who specialize in meeting your needs.

Be sure to understand if the solutions you’re considering are fully functional vs. just add-ons to desktop solutions. As an example, does an app only let you view a schedule or does it actually let you edit and create a schedule from your phone? The former is a nice-to-have but the latter will provide you with the flexibility you need to be more efficient.

Adopt an end-to-end approach

If you’re going to make your back-office operations mobile, things like managing staff schedules, communicating with workers and running payroll, you also need to provide workers with mobile tools to do their jobs. It should be an end-to-end experience–from the time they walk in your door and clock in until they leave.

Make sure the tools you provide are easy for workers to use. For example, if your workers need a lot of scheduling flexibility in their workday or the ability to request a shift change, make sure they can do all of it right from their phones.

End-to-end mobile apps will distribute the work among more team members to reduce the amount of tasks on your plate. For instance, if everyone uses the same mobile solution for time tracking and payroll, a worker can clock out from their phone and their manager gets a text notification that hours are ready to approve, reducing the burden on you to track down hours worked.

Involve your workers

Your workers are already using their phones in their personal lives to handle all sorts of tasks, so chances are they’d welcome the opportunity to take that same technology into work. Get their input on what tasks they’d like to make mobile, and celebrate with your workers when you get new tools that will help them do their jobs better.

Host a team kick-off when you implement a tool or send an email announcing a contest to reward the first few workers who finish onboarding with the tool. It will encourage workers to participate in making mobile a part of your business and help boost adoption of your new tools.

Understand and maximize the ROI

Going mobile will likely save you both time and money and create new efficiencies to scale. It’s important to know how you’ll reinvest those savings to realize the full ROI of going mobile. Ask yourself questions like:

-Where else can you invest in your business?

-Can you launch a new offering or go into another geographic area?

-What new processes can you develop?

-Can you hire more workers or buy additional equipment?

Commit to reevaluating 

The benefit of going mobile is most tools are easy to adopt and quick to scale. That said, it’s important to do an annual review to decide if the tools you have today are still working for your business. Tap into your professional network for advice. Talk to peers to hear which mobile tools they’re having success with and why. Which tools do they regret adopting?

Create a framework for how and when you’ll evaluate tools that answers questions like:

-Are there new technologies that have gained traction in the last year that you need to adopt?

-How has mobile improved your processes and where has it hurt them?

-How could pivots in your business strategy impact your mobile needs in the future?

-Do any of your tools overlap? If so, could they be consolidated or eliminated to save even more?

-Are your workers happy with the tools they have today?

Answering these questions will help you know where you need to invest or rethink your existing solutions.

The pandemic changed the way people get things done, and you can do the same for your business. Take this opportunity to innovate, and you’ll get ahead of the competition, make your business processes more efficient and save precious time. And once you start running your business from anywhere, you’ll never want to be tied to a desk again.

Ron Ross is the COO and co-founder of Everee, a payroll and business payments platform that allows business owners to manage, schedule and pay workers all from their phones. 

Mobile work stock image by Humba Frame/Shutterstock