The modern workplace is no 9-to-6 affair

The modern workplace is no 9-to-6 affair
Reports, proposals and even new business agreements are now being handled remotely.

dubai - Technology gives us an opportunity to accomplish more in the comfort of our own locations

By Mahmoud Alyahya

Published: Wed 10 Jan 2018, 3:45 PM

Last updated: Wed 10 Jan 2018, 5:50 PM

The concept of 'mobile workplace' and 'bring your own device' (BYOD) is no longer a luxury of the future for most working professionals across the globe and the Middle East is not an exception. I work with many partners and clients from across the region and while I am based in Dubai, most of my work is not bound to a location.

For me, the workplace is a fluid concept. Thanks to technology, I can stay agile, connected, efficient and productive. I speak at different industry events, travel extensively and attend meetings outside my office to handle 80 per cent of my business. Regional culture dictates the BYOD trend. We close business while having lunch or coffee and it is never a 9am to 6pm affair.

Agility, automation and efficiency is highly dependent on technology. It enables us everyday and makes our busy schedules easy to handle while achieving the desired results. Chats, webcams, Skype, WebEx meetings and mobile phones help me to collaborate with different people from multiple locations and technology allows me to quickly access critical information from internal and external sources. In an increasingly competitive market as the Middle East,  access to advanced connectivity tools enables me to make decisions quickly and expand our business while growing market share.

Reports, presentations, proposals and even new business agreements are now being handled remotely, quickly and without consideration of a physical location. The old and traditional style of doing business is increasingly supported by innovation and efforts of technology companies to integrate our day-to-day tasks into a fast-moving environment. We learn much more about our customers and potential partners by researching online, connecting via LinkedIn and sometimes even on Facebook.

The most important part of workplace mobility is to keep the balance between work and personal life. While accessibility and fluid workplace may seem to overwhelm us and invade our personal space, I believe it opens more room for creativity and promotes healthier business practices by giving us an opportunity to accomplish more at the comfort of our own locations. There are several core applications and features that almost every professional can benefit from.

Secure data accessibility is the number one priority for my line of business. DropBox, Google Drive and iCloud are a few of the vast number of platforms that help us to have quick access to our data. It also enables us to share information with our colleagues and partners in a speedy manner. Documents can be shared, scanned, e-mailed, printed and altered on the cloud while most applications and CRMs can be accessible remotely. With enterprise resource planning applications, we can manage expense reports, purchase orders, business dashboards and security records.

Communication tools such as Skype for business and WebEx are on the top of my business enablers list. Urgent conference calls and presentations that need to be shared with multiple partners from different countries and negotiation meetings can be scheduled in the span of a few hours. It is cost-effective and less time-consuming to set up a call with my partners in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, Bahrain and many other countries to discuss our strategy for 2018 rather than flying to each location. Physical presence can't be fully replaced with WebEx calls, but we need to choose our battles as some discussions can be made via conference calls.

The last feature that has proven to be very useful in my business is Xerox's EasyTranslate app. The Middle Eastern business environment is represented by multiple nationalities and the documentation we handle requires multiple language skills, which is not always viable as it is not possible to have a professional translator at your convenience 24 hours a day. This is where EasyTranslate feature helps. By scanning and e-mailing or saving documents, reports and presentations on the cloud in multiple languages, we can overcome language barriers and shorten decision-making time. I represent global organisations while dealing directly with the public sector and regional government clients and documentation exchange in different languages is a very big asset.

The end of the year is a very busy period for most businesses inundated with reports, planning and industry events. With sophisticated technology tools, our mobile office makes business operations much more efficient. Technology is the reason why our businesses are striving, flourishing and contributing to the overall progress and innovation across many industries.

I am a very strong believer in the importance of the impact we make not only on our sales spreadsheets but also on the economies of the countries we operate in. While enabling such sectors as education, transportation, healthcare and governments with innovative document technology and workflow automation features, we benefit from this technology in our daily business processes. After all, technology allows us to focus on our real business and what matters rather than commuting to our physical offices and getting swamped under piles and piles of administrative tasks.

The writer is head of Middle East production technology business, Xerox. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.

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