IT Management Slideshow: 10 Tools To Keep Employees Productive On the Road

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 08-03-2011

10 Tools To Keep Employees Productive On the Road

A BlackBerry. Really.One of the best ways enhance employee productivity on the road is to equip them with a smartphone that is designed for their jobs. And for now, that still means getting them a BlackBerry. RIM's smartphones may lack the flair of the iPhone or Android-based devices, but they're far more functional for basic tasks such as keeping up with Email (and not getting distracted by Angry Birds.)

10 Tools To Keep Employees Productive On the Road

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Feel Daring? Choose iPhoneIf you think BlackBerry has run its course, consider Apple's iPhone. The device has made strides in enterprise-friendly features over the years, including remote device management and full application control. Plus, employees will be happy to have it.

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Bring On the TabletsThe screen size of most smartphones makes it difficult to browse the Web and view or create extensive documents. Tablets address that problem, thanks to large displays plus smartphone-like functionality. The BlackBerry PlayBook is designed for enterprise users, but most would agree the iPad is your best bet. Whichever device you choose, you'll make your employees able to do much more while on the road with the help of a tablet.

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Don't Fear the CloudCloud-based services continue to gain popularity. And with good reason. If you employ a cloud-based service, such as SalesForce's CRM or Microsoft Office 365, you should be able to keep your people connected and working no matter where they are.

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The Lowly LaptopWith all the hype about smartphones and tablets, it's easy to forget that when it comes to enterprise computing, there's simply no substitute for a solid laptop. Devices from makers such as HP, Dell, and Lenovo offer big screens, a full physical keyboard, and an operating system in Windows that employees are comfortable using. In many cases, laptops are a must-have for mobile employees.

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Netbooks Work TooThese lightweight, small computers offer the many of the same features of a laptop -- most notably, a physical keyboard and Windows -- but at a much lower price tag. If you want laptop-like functionality, high mobility, and a solid price tag, netbooks remain a fine bet.

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VPN Access Is KeyOne of the biggest issues that companies around the world face is the inability for mobile employees to access a corporate network and perform all the same duties on the road as they would in the office. With a VPN, you can eliminate those issues. And the best part is, it should keep things relatively secure.

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Limit the FunSure, they can go to Amazon.com once in a while to buy a few things, but should they be allowed to access Netflix every day? Probably not. It's also a good idea to limit access to app stores. It's your job to limit the fun, and keep folks working.

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Remember Remote ManagementRemote management of smartphones has gotten a lot less difficult than it used to be. You can check in on employees to see what they're doing, disallow access to certain features, and generally ensure that users are staying within the confines of the corporate policies that you've set. Control is a key factor in keeping employees productive.

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Speaking of Use PoliciesDo your employees know what they can and cannot do with their mobile devices? For instance, you should set policies around the use of social networking services, and remind them constantly to keep their devices secure. Connecting to unknown wireless networks is another pitfall they must avoid. A good use policy helps govern behavior on the road.

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