Get Working From Home To Work

Allowing your employees to work from home is a great way to introduce flexibility to your production schedule.  In the past few weeks, there’s been a backlash against this kind of work option.  However, the benefits to both employee and employer can’t be ignored.  Here are a few tips to help keep everything on track.

Get Rid of Preconceptions

Working from home is a great way for an employee to make their career fit into their lives.  That means shedding the nine-five notion of working.  As long as you set deadlines and those deadlines are met, there’s no reason to inquire of when the work is being done.  Letting your employee allocate their own time is a sure way to increase trust and reduce stress.

Face Time

This doesn’t have to do with Apple.  You should keep up with face-to-face interactions.  Whether it be a weekly meeting or via the Internet, seeing and being seen is a more effective way to touch base.  There is something to be said about the way human beings have evolved.  Transmit have the information we wish to convey through tone and facial expressions, something that is lost with text exchanges.  You know what I mean?

The Little Things

If you don’t already, you should create a method of dominating small talk to your remote employees.  Things like a newsletter that lists things like birthdays and office events.  That way your remote employees can feel like they are part of the loop.  With social media and other tools, these workers can feel more integrated into the company and vice versa as well for their office bound counterparts.


The Long Telecommute to Work

A recent survey down by Florida based company Protech showed that 28% of IT professionals listed flex time as their number one perk.  The study goes on to suggest that some employees with take a cut in pay or even their health insurance in order to telecommute.

The thinking is that if workers don’t have to spend time in traffic, they can spend more time doing the things they want to do like spending time with their families.  That in turn would lead to less stress and increased productivity. Yet most companies would consider telecommuting a benefit to be earned after trust is established. It all boils down to a situation of here vs. there.  Where are your IT professionals needed, here in office or there offsite?

One company, Oil States International has decided that thisis more important.  All of their IT staff telecommunicates.  Their business deals in oil and gas which is geographically dispersed.  In this instance, it makes more sense for workers to deal with IT problems in the field, then return home to log reports.

Furthermore, most IT industry observers predict the complete takeover of lights-out facilities, or data centers without any on-site staff.  The decrease in cost is believed to outweigh the problems of having nobody there.

One of the largest problems to surmount is continuity.  If something breaks on the factory floor, then it’s probably best that someone be there in person to handle it.  Security is another problem.  How do you ensure that your employees have a secure remote access to your network?  How do you make sure that your employees are on task?  Will this even work for your business?

There are some easy steps to help optimize a telecommuting employee.  One is to ensure that they have a separate room devoted to work.  It should be a more sterile environment that isn’t cluttered with personal effects.

These employees should also have adequate bandwidth for videoconferencing, uploading, and accepting large files.  And finally, there should be a plan in place if telecommuting is not possible.

For example, if the power goes down, what is this employee supposed to do?  There should be a place they can relocate to in order to get back to work.  Or, if that is not possible, they should have devices at hand to securely store data.


100% Telecommute: Treehouse

In our age of telecommunications, businesses have the opportunity to be increasingly decentralized.  Nowhere is this more prominent than at Treehouse.  Founded by Ryan Carson, the company specializes in online training from IT development to Java.  What sets it apart, besides making over 3 million a month, is that it’s completely virtual.  That means there’s no centralize location.  Carson is located in the UK, but his business spans the entire world.  How does he do it?  More importantly, how he does it successfully.

On an interview with IT News, he suggested several outsources.  The first step was to outsource HR.  He uses a service called Trinet.  That helps deal with the multinational nature of his business.  All the pension details and tax laws can be handled by local experts so Carson can focus on the core of his business rather than finding people to deal with minutia. The second hire he made was a reliable financial controller who managed day-to-day operations.  And for actual projects, Carson uses Campfire.

However, there are pitfalls to being so decentralized.  Carson says that the biggest problem is dealing with multiple time zones.  His final word of advice is that when employees go off kilter he calls them directly, as soon as possible, to get them back on track.

In an increasingly globalized world, doing business with people you’ve never met is becoming common place.  Cloud tools like Google Docs and Campfire are still evolving to accommodate the needs of this new development.  Telecommunicating has been around for decades, but never have businesses been completely based off this model on this scale.  It’ll be interesting to see how this what’s on the horizon.