When working remotely, I've found the most important thing to do is to have dedicated space that is setup so you can truly be efficient and work like you are "at the office". If you are constantly interrupted, its very difficult to be productive. However, once you have a good home office setup, I've found that I can be more productive at times working from my home office.
Improvements in technology are enabling more and more employees to be extremely productive and connected with their fellow employees. However, working remotely is not without its challenges. Below are the top 5 problems with remote workers and how technology can be used to mitigate them.
1. Managing Laptops: IT admins can relate to how difficult it is to manage desktops and laptops in the office let alone the complexities of not having physical access to the device or the user. Microsoft has solved this problem in their Enterprise Mobility and Security offering. Bundled in this offer is Intune, which allows IT administrators to enroll mobile laptops, install applications, and manage through group policy like functionality.
2. Phones: Sure you can use your smart phone but often people don't want to give out their personal cell numbers for business purposes. Microsoft Skype for Business Cloud PBX solves this problem. You can utilize a Skype enabled polycom phone or the Skype for Business App on Android or iPhone and login using your email and password and voila, your business phone number on whichever device you want. You can place outbound calls or receive inbound calls while utilizing your business phone number.
3. Communications: Communicating when you are working remote is one of the biggest concerns most employers have with allowing workers to work from home. Utilizing IT tools like Skype for Business enables employees to chat with others, conduct conference calls with voice and video (assuming your not working from your bed!)
4. Access to data: Having users VPN to the corporate office to obtain files is fine but why not utilize Sharepoint so all users, remote or at the office, can easily find and use documents. With the latest versions of Office, multiple users can edit the same document at the same time.
5. You're Fired: Terminating any employee is no fun. It can be even more difficult when its a remote worker. Beyond the awkward phone call, what about all the company data they have access to? If you are utilizing Microsoft Office 365 with EMS, it's no problem. All data can be remotely wiped while maintaining the user's personal data. You can also control where the user saved company data, restricting saving to personal drives or personal cloud storage accounts.
As you can see, there are challenges with remote workers but there can be some great business benefits. Productivity and employee happiness can actually increase. In fact, according to a 2016 survey of American remote workers, about 91 percent of people who work from home feel that they’re more productive than when they’re in an office! Also, businesses can scale without adding office space. Lastly, with unemployment at record lows, allowing for remote workers could open up a much larger candidate pool for your business since you can recruit nationwide or even internationally!