Universities aren’t confined to the borders of their home country - in fact, many universities operate within multiple territories around the world, whether it be in the form of satellite campuses, international research projects or more.
This means that mobile workforce management is a key activity for these institutions. Being able to accurately and efficiently manage and collaborate within a global or remote workforce is crucial for the continued delivery of quality education. So what are the mobile workforce management trends that are being utilized within the education sector today?
- Working From Home
- Cross-Border IoT Connectivity
- Real-Time Data for HR Departments
- Working With a PEO
1. Working From Home
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, many education professionals have found themselves working from home. In many circles, the common focus is on flexibility and how an education from home can be provided successfully. The industry is currently learning just what kind of technologies and techniques are available in order to do this.
The financial cost, the time, the upskilling - these are the start-up costs of this new normal we all find ourselves in. Working from home represents a number of trends, namely the digital upskilling of employees and the actual platforms being used.
There has been, of course, concerns about productivity and the response to working from home hasn’t been a universally positive one. Some educators are finding issues with finding the right technology to use and whether it’s accessible to all, alongside other issues such as time management and student engagement.
However, there have been advantages gained. There’s been a reduction in commuting time (around $90 billion in economic benefit), an increase in productivity and a better sense of intentionality, meaning online meetings and other work is booked with more intention.
As we go further and further into remote, blended or socially-distanced working, the uptake in these advantages and the working methods that cause them increases. And higher education institutions are adapting to better manage this remote workforce on a logistical level.
For example, many universities are offering tenure-clock stoppages, mitigating junior employee concerns about the loss of months of research time. Similarly, other institutions are focusing more on the wellbeing of their staff.
At the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University, the dean, Christopher Long, wrote to his colleagues about "adjusting expectations". Long stated that anything beyond keeping healthy and social distancing and succeeding in remote instruction "can wait and should wait."
At the outset, flexibility within working from home is an ever-growing trend, covering many smaller implementations that will only continue into the new year.
2. Cross-Border IoT Connectivity
IoT or ‘Internet of Things’ is a name that essentially covers the hardware devices that are connected within one organization, one server or much larger systems. In the context of a university, it can mean many things.
For example, one use is to track the flow of people in and out of buildings, so the central heating system can be adjusted in real-time in order to maintain optimal room temperatures.
In terms of mobile workforce management for higher education, things are looking more IoT-focused in the future. Connecting to campus-wide WiFi or web-accessible work server for employees can help them to access information at a much faster pace and wider scale. For foreign employees looking to stay on top of work and keep in touch with colleagues overseas, IoT connectivity is the perfect solution.
IoT is also seen as a valuable tool for gathering data. Universities are leveraging this information, whether it’s for students or employees, to improve the working experience for both. By connecting everyone, innovation is more easily secured - which is especially important for staying on the cutting edge of international research.
3. Real-Time Data for HR Departments
One of the developing aims of modern mobile workforce management is to deliver insight about the strengths and weaknesses of the current work system. With these insights, universities can identify the areas for change, meaning mobile workforce management can be used to develop strategic direction. This can only be done by sourcing real-time data
Data gathered in real-time helps to support strategic initiatives. It helps an institution react proactively to external changes, as well as keeps employees engaged and feeling more secure in their work.
Real-time data and analytics help employees to visualize their daily activities and goals, bringing everyone closer in line with overall enterprise outcomes. This is especially important for mobile workforce management, as overseas employees may feel slightly cut off from the main part of the organization - especially if we think of the small teams in overseas research projects run by universities.
The information gathered can be used to view and review performance outcomes, securing departmental benchmarks or creating new goals and incentives with which to secure them. Real-time data gathering and tracking tools are undeniably important for mobile workforce management. For universities that run overseas entities, such as satellite campuses, they’re crucial.
4. Working With a PEO
PEO or Professional Employer Organizations are offering universities and other higher education institutions the ability to expand into or successfully maintain an overseas presence. In these situations, universities are looking for the ability to maintain close communication with entities, domestic and international compliance within their running, cost-efficiency and a better access to talent pools.
PEOs work by offering efficient expansion support, utilizing technology and expertise to accurately support higher education in their move into new territories. For example, working with a PEO can help a university to employ anyone, anywhere.
Through knowledge of domestic and international regulations, alongside global employment management software, a PEO aids with entity setup, global immigration, payroll management and talent acquisition. They can even aid in mergers and acquisitions.
In the process of global workforce management, there are many things to keep track of, such as immigration rules, taxation laws and staff relocation fees. PEOs are helping universities to visualize the complete work lifecycle of expatriate or foreign employees.
With automation, real-time data-driven dashboards and integrated compliance management (offered through bespoke technology), higher education institutions gain access to data in one centralized location.
For example, utilizing this software provides:
Automated business processes: HR and executive management can monitor and manage business processes through workflow systems.
Accurate cost projections: For assignments, detailed cost projections can be calculated.
Easy expense submissions: Overseas staff can enter expense reports for easy approval and payment.
This is just a small portion of the complete PEO service. It is fast becoming a popular and efficient solution for mobile workforce management.
To discover more about PEO solutions for higher education and how they can support universities currently struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic, explore our detailed guide.
The Impact of Covid-19 on Higher Education
Alongside ensuring successful mobile workforce management, dealing with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic is also a big focus for higher education. They are dealing with financial challenges, travel restrictions, impacts on international research and collaboration, as well as decreased student engagement.
To explore some of the facts surrounding these challenges and their potential solutions, download our resource. To get your free copy, simply click the link below.