Looking for a reason to let your employees work from home? You shouldn’t have to look that far—many larger organizations like Dell and Samsung have work-from-home programs that reward high performers with the increased freedom and flexibility of not having to come to the office every day. And many smaller companies are doing the same as a way to reduce overhead costs and get even more out of their staff. Nearly 4 million Americans work from home at least twice a week. That represents nearly 2.5% of the entire professional workforce.1 Studies show that working from home brings greater employee satisfaction and—as hard as it used to be to believe—greater productivity (like a more than 10% increase in call volume2) as employees seek to prove they can handle the responsibility that comes from working out of the office.
Allowing for Remote Employees
For employers, having happier and more productive employees are just two of the benefits of letting team members work from home. Reduced overhead costs in the form of office space and utilities really start to add up when your team begins to work from home. Plus, embracing the idea of remote employees can open your talent pool to high-quality candidates in other cities or states. Better, happier employees getting more done at less total cost for your organization—what’s not to like?
Whether you are growing your team or looking to transition your current office staff to work remotely,3 you need tools that allow for collaboration and access to critical applications, files, and business systems. Thankfully, all of these things are not only available, but are feature-rich and cost-effective for organizations of all sizes. Let’s take a look at the three primary things your remote team will need to be most successful—communication, collaboration, and utilizing the right applications for your business.
Maintaining a High Level of Communication
If your team is going to be working from different locations, then it is imperative that they remain in touch with each other as well as clients and customers. Robust and reliable communication starts with a full-featured VoIP telephone system. Less expensive than regular phone lines, VoIP offers your company the ability to have extensions ring to wherever the employee is working, including remote offices or cell phones. Just think, you can add a new location without having to add a new phone system. VoIP means your entire telephony solution is centralized and managed from one place. Add in teleconferencing, video-conferencing, and easy management through a centralized digital console, and the right VoIP system can completely solve the problem of providing communication tools to your remote employees.
Hosted Exchange also gives your team accessibility to enterprise-grade email from any connected system. However, with Exchange you have the peace of mind that both security and administration are handled even if your employees are accessing messages from mobile devices, tablets, or home workstations. Because security is administered in the cloud—and not on each individual machine—you don’t have to compromise when it comes to keeping data and messages safe. Hosted Exchange also offers calendaring and shared mailboxes, so your team can stay organized and in-touch from anywhere.
Seamless and Smooth Collaboration
Collaboration has to remain optimized even if your team is working in different places around the globe. Thankfully, there are a number of cloud-based ways to do just that. We highly recommend leveraging the cloud for shared drives and folders so your team can work on the same files and presentations from anywhere. Shared folders mean coworkers can access the same information without logging into an on-premise server or data storage solution. Collaboration can take place at the software level as well. And while we always recommend your own cloud environment for data storage and collaboration, familiar office productivity tools like Google Apps for Business and Microsoft Office now have great features around sharing and collaboration—just make sure you set up permissions and paths correctly for maximum efficiency. You don’t have to be in the next cubicle or even the same building to collaborate—with the cloud, you can work together even when you’re far apart.
Easy Yet Secure Access to Applications and Data
Oftentimes there is a worry that working remotely will make access to applications and data a complicated and difficult endeavor for employees. Not so! The cloud makes it possible for your team to access applications and files from anywhere with a reliable Internet connection. Our recommendation for remote teams is most often a virtual desktop (VDI) solution. VDIs can run on any computer, but are managed from a central location. This means your employees don’t have to worry about patching and updating their computers at home, or about security. They won’t even have to lug their laptops from one place to another since they can securely access their desktops from anywhere.
The VDI administrator can handle updates and administration as well as install new software without issue. From accounting software to client files, everything you currently work with on your in-office machine can be provisioned to a virtual desktop and used as easily as ever, anywhere. If VDI isn’t the right solution for your organization, then a shared cloud instance can provide access to file folders and applications as well. A secure connection provides each employee with access to shared drives and applications, meaning that working remotely is—once again—just as easy as being in the office.
It’s Time To Get Out of the Office
We’ve helped scores of companies transition to a remote workforce, a transition that more and more companies are starting to embrace. Some simply want the tools available so that employees can work from anywhere, as with salespeople on the road or administrators staying home to care for a sick child. Others are looking to greatly reduce overhead costs and transition their entire team to work remotely. Whatever solution you are interested in exploring for your own organization, DiamondIT can help. From a cloud accessible anywhere to telephony and email systems that provide flexibility without compromising security, your remote employee needs can be designed, deployed, and managed by our expert team. Contact DiamondIT to learn more about how we can help you realize increased productivity and decreased overhead costs associated with a remote workforce!
- http://www.cio.com/article/3008872/relationship-building-networking/how-to-maintain-strong-relationships-with-remote-workers.html ↩
- http://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/want-productive-employees-let-some-of-them-work-from-home.html ↩
- http://www.skilledup.com/insights/transitioning-remote-workforce-two-case-studies ↩