More than 3.2 million Americans telework daily. Raised on the Internet, the next generation sees telecommuting not as a perk, but as an essential, and as these individuals continue to enter the workplace, this number will unquestionably increase.
Teleworking is the way of the future.
By definition, teleworking (or telecommuting) is employing the use of computer and telecommunications technology to work remotely while maintaining contact with colleagues and customers. Broadband Internet, cloud solutions, and productivity tools enable workers to be in multiple places at the same time. These capabilities provide tangible benefits to businesses of all sizes, across all industries.
When building a teleworking strategy, consider these priorities:
Employees are inevitably going to work remotely, and they’re going to do it on their personal computers, tablets and smartphones. You may have heard about the “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend. It’s a reality in today’s corporate environments, and an integral part of teleworking. So as you consider how to support a mobile workforce, you must consider that personal devices will be accessing your network and data. Therefore, I recommend the following priorities:
1. Security: Loosening the reins on technology control can be a worrisome prospect for many IT departments. A common misconception is that cloud-based solutions are less secure. However most cloud-based applications and services provide robust capabilities that introduce no new network security risks. Many entail comprehensive authentication and authorization features that can be resident on the network, and on the devices that access it. Strong encryption capabilities must be built in to protect sensitive data and communications. Finally, multi-threat protection ensures that your network and devices are free from malicious code that may be lurking on personal devices that access your network. As a cloud-based infrastructure provider, our security is designed to meet the ever-changing security needs of our customers.
2. Unified Communications: As the teleworking culture grows, many businesses are replacing conventional office telephone systems with unified communications solutions. UC platforms integrate cloud voice services, video calling and video conferencing, instant messaging, and presence capabilities so that employees can communicate seamlessly from a desk phone, a mobile phone, a PC or a tablet. Untethering employees from their desk frees them up to visit customers, remain productive while traveling and increase productivity from a remote or home office.
Cloud UC solutions provide similar capabilities to tools like Skype or Google Hangouts, with additional businesses features like corporate directories and office productivity tools. Advanced providers like NetFortris utilize a private MPLS network to deliver VoIP, desktop sharing, point-to-point video conferencing, messaging, secure voice and data communications—without the overhead of a separate carrier cost.
3. Everywhere Access: Effective teleworking utilizes the latest cloud communications and collaboration software to make an office phone number and unified communications capabilities portable. Using that one number, employees can stay connected from any device—tablet, smart phone, IP phone, or PC. They have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere, with best-of-breed communications solutions transferring live calls seamlessly between devices. When workers have universal access, communications remain consistent and productivity is enhanced.
Advantages for Everyone
Teleworking has measurable benefits. It lowers operating costs for businesses by reducing wasteful expenditures and allows for a continuity of business, despite travel, remote offices, complicated commutes from bad weather, special events, or unforeseen emergencies. With increased flexibility, workers can be more productive and strike a consistent work-life balance. Decreased commutes save time, lower energy costs, and reduce emissions—and probably most importantly—improve employee morale and loyalty.
The many benefits are universal, but they are also specific:
IT Planners: Cloud communications help IT planners accelerate the pace of innovation, while simultaneously reducing associated costs and complexity. Users have access to the latest features and services, and services can be extended to distant branch offices or remote workers. Because businesses do not purchase or maintain the hardware, upfront expenses are reduced, and IT staffing costs are contained. Pay-as-you-grow licensing plans also allow for easy budgeting.
Employees: Teleworking enables flexibility and allows remote workers access to cloud-based applications that can enhance their interactions with coworkers and customers. They can utilize comprehensive applications that provide cloud storage and file backup, remote access, note taking abilities, conference call management, and contact management.
Managers: Cloud-based services provide the most obvious benefits to team managers. Web-based project management, information sharing, and collaboration software bring together a distributed team without the need for IT involvement. These tools enhance communication and catalyze effectiveness.
NetFortris specializes in solutions that provide optimal advantages for IT organizations and employees alike. To learn more about teleworking, and how it might improve the productivity for your organization, please check out our ebooks.