Businesses are just starting to discover the many benefits inherent to a remote workforce. There is a prevalent misconception that workers who telecommute spend all day goofing off in their pajamas while they earn a paycheck, but the results will speak for themselves when you receive completed projects on time and see employee efficiency and morale improve. The benefit for workers is that they have the flexibility to work on their own schedule so long as they turn in work and meet deadlines. In addition, employees avoid a daily commute to the office saving them time, fuel costs, and stress.
Companies that support telecommuting also gain advantages. Not only can you save money on office space and liability costs, but you could also hire remote employees as contractors, who do not hold the same status as full-time employees. This would avoid the costs of benefits packages, workers compensation, and so on. In short, there are bonuses for everyone involved. However, you will almost certainly want to hire a qualified managed services provider to help ensure that you have the proper IT solutions in place to support remote workers.
There are two main concerns when it comes to finding the IT support needed to accommodate telecommuters: infrastructure and security. Because telecommuting is a relatively recent avenue of exploration for many companies, chances are you don’t have the right equipment, software, and security in place to ensure that remote employees have the secure access needed for safe file transfer and connectivity. You’ll need a reliable technology service organization to help you create the proper virtual environment for remote workers.
The process begins with appropriate infrastructure and a formal support system. When it comes to telecommuting, part of the problem is physical and part is virtual. Your business likely has properly secured devices (computers, laptops, servers, and more) onsite, but there is no way to know the status of the personal computers, laptops, and other equipment being used by telecommuters. You may want to provide these employees with hardware that is free of viruses and has had appropriate security software installed.
These devices for off-site use should include a variety of software solutions. In addition to whatever programs may be needed to complete the actual work, you might want to add video conferencing software to stay in contact or allow remote employees to participate in meetings as needed. Depending on the job employees are handling remotely, Computer Telephone Integration (CTI) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications may also be useful. In addition to standard inclusions like a firewall and antivirus/anti-spyware programs, your managed service provider might suggest web filtering, encryption, and other security software to protect your property, your network, and your business.
Your MSP can help you to find the discounted hardware and software to suit your needs, as well as offer remote monitoring if necessary to ensure the equipment is not being misused or exposed to unnecessary risk while off-site. The right IT support provider can also provide you with the necessary infrastructure upgrades onsite or help you to find the right level of cloud services to suit your needs.
For example, you might want a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. This option will allow workers access to your system, applications and files via a highly protected network. In some cases, users will need personal passwords to gain access. More complex systems utilize passkeys to secure their applications. You’d need to supply remote workers with a token that produces a new password every minute or so, giving them only a short time to log in before the password changes. This can help to protect your sensitive data and dramatically reduce the possibility of breaches while also allowing telecommuters to gain secured access to company resources needed to complete their work from afar.
There will be a period of adjustment when you begin allowing employees to telecommute for work, and you’ll definitely need the expert support and services of a qualified IT service provider to set up appropriate infrastructure and security precautions. You will, however, gain a bevy of benefits in the process, cutting costs and keeping workers happy as a result. You may even see a rise in productivity when you elect to allow for telecommuting and find the proper IT solutions to support a remote workforce.