For many, the morning commute to work involves a 30-minute drive through traffic after a quick stop at a coffee shop. For others, the commute is just a few steps down the hall from the bedroom.
More and more Americans are ditching their familiar routines for a spot on the couch or in their home office. From 2005 to 2012, the number of telecommuters has risen nearly 80 percent. Telecommuting is on the rise, and more advanced technology has allowed companies to utilize creative ways to collaborate and share information. But that also raises concerns for network security.
So, why would a business make the switch to allowing employees to work from home? And what does it mean for the bottom line?
It could be the absence of occasional frustration from closed roads or delays, but companies that allow telecommuting have seen higher levels of morale in remote employees. The boost of happiness from increased flexibility also reduces turnover and increases productivity. Employees save time and money by avoiding the commute, and companies don't have to pay for extra workspace. It's a win-win.
There are a few downsides to the empty space that replaces employees. With less face-to-face meetings, it's difficult for remote employees to keep track of coworkers in the office, and vice versa. Simple questions start piling up, and concerns of security are raised. Is it safe to use a personal computer for work? Firewalls and passwords may mask potential breaches of information, though depending on the quality of your security solution, effectiveness isn't always certain.
Wi-Fi networks - either at home or in a public location - may not be secure enough to protect company data. Companies should restrict sharing or downloading of data over certain networks, and set up passwords and security measures even in home network locations. A virtual private network, or VPN, is an ideal option for companies who wish to protect data transmission and reduce risks.
Companies should have security procedures in place and also decide whether telecommuting employees will use their personal computers or company-issued devices. Employers will have more control over data with the latter, but also should provide technical support for when issues arise.
Telecommuting means companies can employ people from across the country. Picking up the phone to communicate is being replaced by a new standard. From video conferencing to innovative, collaborative sharing procedures, working in the same place doesn't always mean working in the same room, and methods for virtual communication are more powerful and personal every year.
Though the freedom of working somewhere other than a desk or cubicle may be liberating, virtual hangouts don't always ease loneliness for telecommuting employees. Home is your office - it's no longer your escape after a long day at work. This brings it's own challenges on personal, social, and emotional levels.
While it's tough to track the future of the growing telecommuting trend, it is certain that the cost-effective practice is rapidly growing. It might not be for everyone, but telecommuting offers flexibility and other benefits with a price of network security concerns and individual struggles with the social dynamic of the workplace.
With Coordinated Business Systems, managing your information is easy. Telecommuting can be an adjustment, and the experts at Coordinated Business Systems will provide you with services from electronic document management to IT managed services that can make adoption easier. Call us today to find out how our specialized solutions will improve productivity and save you money.