More and more these days, terms like working remotely and telecommuting are becoming a part of our everyday language. According to a recent Gallup poll, 37% of workers claimed to have telecommuted. That is up more than 300% from 1995 (9%). The average worker in the U.S. telecommutes two days a month. Of those engaged in telecommuting, 46% percent do so during the workday.
The days of having to maintain a physical presence in a brick-and-mortar structure seem to be fading. Greater confidence is being gained in the productivity of workers away from the office. Ensuring this productivity is a mission all organization IT departments must accomplish. Techniques such as mobile device management and seamless email synchronization between accounts keep workers busy no matter where they are based. Here is a discussion of the approaches you should consider, not only to boost employee productivity, but also to promote more opportunities for work outside of the office walls.
The Case for and Challenges Faced with Remote Work
A study conducted (as published by Harvard Business Review), involving a Chinese travel website, allowed workers the option of working from home for nine months. A control group of 50% of employees stayed in the office while the other 50% conducted their work while on the go or in the comforts of their own home. The results found that the company gained nearly an extra workday’s worth of productivity from those who worked at home. The remote workers also reported a higher level of job satisfaction and better retention rates. Perhaps most significant of all, the study found that the remote workforce saved the employer $1,900 in costs.
The results of the study are not totally indicative of the results you may yield, but they prove a promising endorsement of remote work. The challenge that an organization must overcome when moving toward more off-site working opportunities for their employees (which includes working on-the-go) is the protection of sensitive and proprietary information. The establishment of a virtual private network, or VPN firewall, is necessary in order to keep data safe when accessed over a public Wi-Fi system. You also need to ensure reliable VPN connectivity when employees need to access critical information from their desktop computers.
Increasing Your Remote Employee Productivity
Your IT team provides you with a huge assist by facilitating work from home efforts and working on-the-go that requires remote access. Your VPN firewall must account for security issues that are present with public Wi-Fi in order to minimize risks to your network. These efforts, along with changes to traditional management expectations for productivity (such as establishing regular check-ins, auto-tracking, etc.), can help you realize results that may be on par with those reported in the Harvard Business Review.
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