At 3.5%, the unemployment rate is lower than it has been in the U.S. for several decades1. While this is great news for workers, it does mean that companies have to work harder than ever to attract the right people. Even so, many companies have a good trick up their sleeves. They use their existing IT infrastructure to offer remote work opportunities. For some workers, this opportunity is priceless.
The Necessary Infrastructure
The problem with relying on the existing infrastructure for remote work is that it may not be enough. Here are some of the tools managers should look into:
The first thing you need to set up before allowing any remote work is security. Devices should be encrypted to prevent data from getting into the wrong hands if the devices get lost or stolen. Cybersecurity is also important. This involves not just arranging for secure access to company servers but also training workers on securing company data. Cybersecurity tips should include how to use public WiFi when doing company work and handling confidential client information.
Equipment and Furniture
Remote workers still need access to the same tools they used in the office or the equivalent. The more technical their jobs, the truer this is. Mobile hardware makes this possible in the form of tablets, smartphones, and laptops. The company may also offer fixed devices for a home office, such as a printer, fax machine, and landline business phone. Some employers even chip in for the cost of furnishing the office and pay toward the higher utilities from working at home.
Project Management Tools
Sometimes the project manager is in the office and needs to coordinate with the remote and local workers. Other times, it is the project manager who works remotely. Whichever setup is right of your business, software tools can help to make the process a lot easier. Asana, Basecamp, and Trello are some of the common apps now in use. They help to ensure everyone on board knows what they are responsible for and when the deadlines are.
There are several apps available that make communication easy. Among the most popular are Skype and Slack Chat. For better security and more customized experience, some companies commission proprietary software. Cloud computing also plays an important role in collaborative work. The network infrastructure design is crucial to take advantage of this without putting data at risk.
Performance reviews are especially important when some teammates work remotely. Otherwise, managers have no way of knowing if this work arrangement is truly beneficial to the team. Focusing on individual performance reviews is important, but remember to take a step back. How does the home team’s performance compare to those working remotely?
Why It’s Worth It
Did you know that by 2018, at least once per week, 70% of people worked remotely? More than half also worked remotely for half the week. The ability to retain key workers who might otherwise leave the workplace or move on to competitors is the main reason so many employers are doing this. There is also the cost-saving factor as remote work allows businesses to reduce overhead costs.
Here are some additional benefits identified by Forbes:
- Improved productivity from remote workers
- Reducing labor costs by hiring part-time workers
- Access to a larger group of workers
- Greater cash flow and increased profitability
How To Get Started
To enjoy these benefits, your business needs the right IT infrastructure in place. You also need to make arrangements for future scaling up or down as the need arises. Because of this, when looking for IT consulting solutions in Phoenix, ensure the company you partner with can handle both your current and future needs. For more information, contact Enterprise Technology Services today.
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