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.