“Any device, anytime, anywhere.” It’s a concept that has become more of a consumer expectation rather than a pipedream, thanks to rapid technological advancements in the past 10 years.
It’s a paradigm shift that has not only changed how we access our personal photos from a family vacation, it has also fundamentally redefined how modern workplaces function, with teleworking and remote work-from-home options becoming a more commonplace offering.
This evolution in how we work makes sense, as having supporting remote workforce with your business provides three key benefits:
- Lower costs
With reduced overhead costs – with less office space to rent, no coffee to supply, and possibly no equipment to buy – companies can often save up to 30 percent on these expenses alone.
- Better talent recruitment and retention
The ability to support remote employees means you can leverage talent for your organization in a way that may have been geographically restricted before. Moreover, 95 percent of surveyed employers say teleworking options has had “high impact” on retention of employees.
- Increased productivity
A recent study found that telecommuting employees not only provided a better work-life balance, employers reported 37 percent less absenteeism and higher rates of productivity.
However, offering a telecommuting option to your employees does present a challenge, as that same study found 33 percent of employees ranked IT as the top issue of working from home:
How do you handle the various IT challenges a remote workforce presents?
For example, what do you do if someone’s home computer no longer works? Or what if employees are not backing up data as they should be when working remotely? Those are just two small examples of situations that can and do occur in a telecommuting work environment.
In order to make sure that you’re ready to meet the challenges, as well as reap the benefits of a mobile workforce, there are two things your organization must proactively address first:
- Develop a Mobile Device Management Strategy
Whether you’re dealing with full-time remote employees or team members who occasionally work from home or access organizational data across a number of devices, it is critical that your business have a mobile device management strategy in place. This is especially true since the idea of BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) has not only become more prevalent, it also presents a number of security risks and data backup challenges that should not go unchecked.
- An Online Backup Solution Is a Must
Having an online backup solution – such as the cloud – is now essential for all businesses, no matter your size. Why? Cloud backup protects your organization’s most valuable information – be it business data or personal – from the risk of loss associated with fire, theft, hacking, or any other kind of technological disasters.
A backup strategy becomes even more important when you factor in the inherent risks of employees who are not working onsite, as they are handling confidential company data from their own mobile devices and computers on a network that may not be as secure or stable as your own.
Employing a remote workforce for your business might seem like a scary concept, given all of the security and data infrastructure risks that should be weighed and addressed thoughtfully. However, with the right amount of proactive planning and strategic IT implementation, a teleworking option – either full- or part-time – for your employees can give you the edge your company needs in order to stay competitive in today’s marketplace.
However, if you do not feel your current on-site IT infrastructure is developed fully enough to support such a workforce, you may want to research managed service providers in your area. Working with an outsourced IT partner will enable you to keep a focus on your business, while their team – either working independently, or in tandem with pre-existing IT personnel – to ensure your approach is as proactive, as it is reactive.