More employers are offering work from home options for their employees than 5-years ago, according to the US Census Bureau. Is your business included in this growing trend? You’ve probably noticed many jobs can be done online, which reduces your overall square footage for office space. However, it can also open a world of technical challenges. So, is working remotely really better for your business?
Two Sides to Every Argument
Without question, there are many conveniences afforded when working remotely. Not only does it allow flexibility, it can also be an important factor for prospective employees considering your company. In many cases employee productivity also increases, along with employee satisfaction. On the other side, your office culture can suffer with remote employees and without key performance indicators, you may lose the ability to measure efficiency and effectiveness. Furthermore, you may invite technical challenges you’ve not considered.
Handling Technical Difficulties
When everyone is working from a shared office location, you or your team can attempt to address technology issues quickly. If an employee computer crashes, they can probably use a different one until their original computer is repaired or replaced. On the other hand, remote employees may have to track down an IT specialist (on-site or remote) over the phone or drive to a nearby office building for help, which kills productivity.
But the best technical support starts before there is a problem. It begins with proper devices and connections and an understanding of your team’s data needs. Of course, this is not information most executives have at the ready, so working with a trusted IT provider is recommended. They’ll want to know general usage information, for example:
- How is the remote employee or team using their computer?
- How are files accessed?
- Does your company use a server?
Answers to questions like these will help them understand your needs so they can provide a recommendation that will work today and in the future.
Ensuring Security from Anywhere
No matter how attractive it may sound for employees to work remotely, it's only worthwhile with proper security. How can you keep your data safe? It requires a comprehensive strategy from encryption, firewalls, and password policies to network authentication, spyware, and anti-virus software.
While keeping your devices free from online viruses, your company’s data assets are even more valuable. After all, if lost or stolen, devices can be replaced. Your company's data, accounting information, and intellectual property are what you're really protecting. Security professionals can help you craft policies and procedures that will assure flexible working conditions while protecting your valuable information.
Ultimately, the appeal of working remotely depends on your business. Would your team benefit more from the added convenience of telecommuting, or do the technical challenges deter you from this style of work? There’s no right or wrong answer, but there are solutions that can make working remotely easier and more secure. Make the choice that best fits your team.