Sunday, August 15, 2010, AM | 1 Comment
There was a time that everyone was required to physically be present at the place of work for the time duration that the employee was hired for.
At the advent of the 21st century, employers and employees both have two questions that each group has to satisfy as far as flex-time and face-time.
When does remote work enhance productivity, and when do employees need to show up?
I worked for a company that was 50 miles away from my home. I had to get into the city to come to the office. Most days, it would take at least 2 hours to get to work. I worked there for 2 years – 2000 and 2001. After working there for approximately two months, the manager asked me if I wanted to work at home three days a week and only had to show up on Wednesday and Thursday. We had group meeting every Thursday.
I asked my ISP to provide me with DSL for the Internet at home and the company provided me with a CD that after installing the software gave me VPN (Virtual Private Network). With that, I was able to log in the office computer. Once logged in, I couldn’t tell the difference if I was at home or in the office, except at home sometimes I would be in pajamas. The DSL gave me the convenience of using my phone independent of the Internet.
That was 10 years ago. We have come a long way in technology implementation and usage. Technologies that equip employees with a true virtual office, including voice over IP, videoconferencing, and desktop-sharing capabilities, bridge the gap between remote workers and their colleagues either in the office or at another remote site.
Remoteness generates flexible work arrangements and thus can create a refuge from the office den. Many employees can exercise this option for reasons other than scheduling convenience. Such arrangements also come in handy when a deadline looms. Most employees, and employers agree, may be better off working remotely some days, including some senior managers.
The costs for equipping employees with the technology to work remotely can be minimal. For examples, laptops with Unified Communications Software, provided by a variety of vendors under their brand names, allow folks to work anywhere. The newer laptops have cameras embedded in them and using applications like Skype can enhance their sense of “being there.”
The goal must be to empower employees at all levels to communicate and collaborate effortlessly, regardless of where they are at the time.
For companies to implement such programs, one major inhibiting factor is the security around financial data and cash. Therefore, communications from laptops to server must be encrypted.
Of course, there are times that employees must come to their offices to perform certain tasks that require their physical presence. For example, a payroll manager who otherwise work remotely most days must come into the office occasionally to make sure the checks and payroll data are secure.
In a Nutshell
Technology has been recently implemented for not only convenience but in practical ways to increase the bottom line of a company. I didn’t notice the difference as far as working through the VPN on the office computers.
However, I did miss the face-to-face interaction with colleagues, going out to lunch, taking coffee breaks together, gossip at the water cooler and other small little things.Facebook.com/doable.finance
- Dec 30, 2010: free mobile software