Don’t sacrifice productivity or sales over the holidays

  • Wed Sep 29th, 2010 9:11am

By Jane Dickson Microsoft Business Solutions

During this time of year, business owners begin to plan for a busy holiday season, creating the inevitable strain of shifting deadlines, managing disparate employees and limited resources. When coordinating schedules with your employees this year, consider leveraging technology to allow you and your employees to work efficiently from any location, increasing overall availability and ultimately, business results.

As I recently discussed in a previous Snohomish County Business Journal column, savvy business leaders can save money and increase productivity in a variety of ways, including a remote working policy. I also highlighted Microsoft’s national research that uncovered tangible benefits for business leaders to employ remote working policies, including access to larger talent pools and lower overhead costs.

While there are many remote technologies available, there is one that most professionals always carry with them: a mobile phone. The business uses for these devices go far beyond checking e-mail and text messaging, which means that our phones are essentially pocket-sized PCs. They help us increase productivity, connect with customers and enable flexible work arrangements. Here are some benefits of a mobile-work policy:

Increase productivity

Even if your team is separated by miles, you can make sure everyone has access to the information they need. Sharing allows for document collaboration and access to resources that help to increase productivity. One example of this is Windows phones, which work directly with Microsoft Office SharePoint workspace-based tools through a convenient hosted service available from Microsoft Online Services.

Connect with customers

Your employees’ availability during the holiday season could mean the difference between making or losing a sale. It’s important to have safe, simple, reliable technologies available at your staff’s fingertips. Using Windows phone with Microsoft Exchange Server provides enhanced messaging, collaboration and communication among employees and customers. These solutions — paired with a familiar Microsoft interface — enable a secure, efficient IT environment at a low total cost of ownership.

Enable flexibility

When your phone synchronizes with your business server, your team can get more from their IT investments. By instituting Windows phones and Microsoft Online Services in tandem, you can enjoy a flexible, cost-effective way to extend your team’s mobile infrastructure across the enterprise, keeping your team’s real-time communication in one place. A holistic mobile solution increases usability and helps to manage, protect and control your organization’s mobile messaging infrastructure.

Business continues around the clock, so you need the power to make decisions and act quickly — even in the holiday season. With secure Web access, core business applications and the proper mobile technologies, employees can work from their phones without skipping a beat (or a holiday party).

If your company is ready to consider a mobile work force, consider the Windows Mobile Business Value Calculator, which provides visibility into the impact of deploying mobile business solutions on the Windows Mobile platform.

Jane Dickson is a regional general manager for Microsoft. For free technology tips, visit