The 9-to-5 grind in the office might soon be a thing of the past. More companies are offering their employees flexible working arrangements to accommodate family needs, travel schedules, or personal preferences. One manifestation of this trend is telecommuting. According to a Staples Advantage survey, 93 percent of employees said that telecommuting options are beneficial, Forbes reported. Indeed, it can be a useful strategy for bringing staff on board from other regions, retaining talent when families move, and increasing job satisfaction among the workplace. To be effective, however, it requires the right tools.
These are a few of the resources that remote workers may need to have in place to make the most out of their flexible arrangements:
- Adequate broadband or Wi-Fi. Advancements in technology make it possible to break out of the office walls. However, connectivity is important, and even data and application solutions with high availability won't serve employees' needs if they don't have consistent Internet connections to tap into cloud resources or Web-based programs.
- Secure file sharing tools. Offerings such as Wide Area File Services (WAFS) can help team members who are working from home or traveling access the information they need, collaborate with colleagues on projects, and keep backups of their mission-critical documents.
- Ready access to corporate resources and enterprise apps. Many employees use smartphones or tablets for professional activities, especially when they're working on the go. Therefore, furnishing them with mobile apps that integrate with the company's enterprise system and programs can give them a more convenient, secure way to get the job done.
- Videoconferencing or online meeting solutions. Particularly for team members who need to interact with customers, managers, or colleagues, videoconferencing resources are a great way to make meetings more personal, despite the physical distance. Alternatively, online meeting spaces can help keep people in touch so they can discuss projects or touch base on initiatives.
- Clear policies for device management. As with bring-your-own-device policies, when employees use their own computers or smartphones to work from home or while traveling, they should have a clear sense of the company's policies for security and data management.
- Regular check-ins with supervisors. Managing remote workers can be a little tricky, especially in terms of building positive work relationships and keeping team members on track to meet their deadlines and goals. Leaders should make sure they create open lines of communication with their remote employees and also have regular status checks to ensure everything is moving along smoothly. Having integrated technology resources can also make it easier for managers to stay abreast of telecommuters' progress.