COVID Response: Telecommuting (Working from Home) And How Is It Going To Help Your Business
Telecommuting is a fancy word for allowing employees to work from home, in remote offices, or while on the road. While this is not a new concept, recent advancements in remote access technology and security have made it very affordable and easy for even micro business owners.
Why would a business want to do this?
Some businesses are being forced to because of the pandemic response, or they’ve run out of office space or to accommodate “road warriors.” But many are doing it for these reasons…
- Business owners (and key managers) working 60+ hours a week are using it as a way to continue working after hours and on weekends from the convenience of their home office.
- Allowing employees to work from home means businesses can cut back on office space, lowering rent and utility bills.
- Telecommuting increases employee productivity, lowers stress levels, and improves retention. Employees will often put in extra hours during the evening and on weekends when they normally wouldn’t be able to access the network.
- Some companies are allowing their employees to work from home two or three days out of a week instead of giving them a raise – a bonus many will gladly take over more money. This also works well if you have limited office space because employees can rotate desk usage.
- It allows you to keep great employees that need or want to relocate, need to stay home to take care of a sick family member, or who are sick, injured, pregnant, or otherwise unable to physically come into the office.
The Single Most Important Thing You Must Have In Place Before Starting A Work From Home Program Or Setting Up Remote Access For Road Warriors
Before you go “whole hog” with a telecommuting or remote access, we recommend conducting a small test where you (and possibly a few key managers) are set up to work from home.
Once you are comfortable with the concept, you may start allowing a few key employees to work from home one day a week or a couple of days a month. Or, you can simply allow employees to use it while traveling or if they are forced to stay home to take care of a child, on a snow day, etc.
But the single most important thing for you to do first is find a very experience IT consultant who will recommend and implement the right technology to support YOUR specific situation and needs. This is unbelievably important to avoiding expensive mistakes and unnecessary frustration.
7 CRITICAL Characteristics You Should Absolutely DEMAND From Any IT Professional You’re Considering To Set-up Your Remote Office Technology
There is no “one size fits all” solution; the best solution is greatly dependant on your specific business needs, the applications you use, how many people will be accessing your systems remotely, the available equipment and dozens of other factors. That’s why you want to look for a consultant who meets the following criteria:
- Look for a consultant who has experience setting up remote access and STRONG (and recent) client references.
The price to correct problems created by novices is much greater than the cost to do it right the first time with an experienced technician. Ask for recent references and call them. Past performance is generally a good gauge of future performance.
- Make sure they are able to TRAIN you and your staff.
So many computer consultants are great at installation, but fall short on training you and your staff how to use the technology they’ve just sold you.
- Make sure they can provide help desk support AFTER hours.
One of the main appeals to teleworking is the ability to work at night or on weekends; that means you need someone to be “on-call” during those off-peak hours if you or your employees have technical problems logging in or accessing the network.
- Make sure they INSIST on maintaining the network
Virtual office networks require more care to make sure they work properly and stay secure. You cannot just “set it and forget it” or you’re asking for problems. Only hire someone who is prepared to perform regular check-ups and updates of your network, usually under a maintenance or managed services plan.
- Look for someone who can also solve the phone piece of the puzzle, not just the network access piece.
If you want your work-from-home employee to be able to make and receive calls and APPEAR as though they are in the office to the caller, then look for someone who can set up your phone system to work with your remote employee’s home phone or cell phone.
- Make sure your consultant is willing and able to be a vendor liaison for your specific business applications or other specialty applications.
It’s important to ensure your consultant is able and willing to confirm your applications will operate efficiently remotely, which means they may need to get on the phone with the help desk of one or more of your software vendors.
- Look for a consultant has expertise in setting up employee monitoring and content filtering.
It’s more difficult (but not impossible) to protect company secrets and proprietary information when it’s stored on a location outside of your office. Therefore, make sure the company you hire has expertise in setting up and managing content filtering and security for remote machines.
Not Sure If You Are Ready To Set Up Remote Access? Our Free Remote Access Consultation Will Help You Decide
As a prospective client, we’d like to offer you a free Remote Access Consultation. At no charge, we will schedule a call, or meeting, to review your current situation, business practices and needs and provide recommendations on how you can quickly and easily set up remote access for you and your staff.
We will also discuss your options, clarify any grey areas, and answer any questions you have. We will also map out the costs and steps involved so you know exactly what to expect.
You are under no obligation to do or buy anything; this is simply our way of introducing our services to you and demonstrating how we can make your remote access project a complete success.