It looks like warm, summer weather has finally taken root here in New England. Well… we hope it has, at least. This IS New England, so it might be in the 40’s next week. Still, it’s almost summertime and that usually means vacations and situations where employees may need to work from home, or remotely from another location outside of the office.
Many industries and companies already offer employees the ability to telecommute in certain situations, as well as encouraging employees to take advantage of flex scheduling. As more and more critical business processes move into the cloud, requiring employees to be centrally located has become less of a concern, and increased productivity has often resulted when allowing more flexibility in workplace environment. Harvard Business Review recently completed a study showing that giving employees the ability to work from home resulted in both lower attrition as well as increased productivity.
Giving employees the ability to work remotely during the summer to help offset vacations and childcare situations is a smart move for many businesses. It keeps work processes running at a higher percentage, and is proven to increase worker morale. If your business is considering allowing employees the ability to work from home this summer (or any other time), here are three key factors to think about to make sure they are productive, while your company’s data and processes are protected.
Security – Employees who are working from home very often need access to software, data, and services housed back at the office. That data may be on their own workstation, or on centrally located company servers. In either case, it’s important to make sure that the data being viewed is encrypted and secured to help prevent malicious users on the Internet intercepting from your company’s secure data and information. Many companies offer VPN software to their employees to make sure any connections they have from home back to the office are secured, and any data they access is protected.
VPNs can be initiated by permanent software employees can download to their home computers (or work-provided laptops), and many VPNs can now be initiated through a secure web browser connection with just a username and password combination. This helps eliminate a number of support issues that can arise with unfamiliar software, and employees can still access data securely if for any reason they need to use a different computer for a short period of time.
Accessibility – Beyond email, employees can be easily accessible when working from home if they have a phone extension close at hand. Phone services such as Hosted PBX can provide employees with a VoIP phone they can use over any existing high speed Internet connection, and allow them to easily call anyone within the company just by dialing an internal extension, or make outbound calls to clients or vendors from within the company’s phone system.
Hosted PBX would also allow employees to automatically forward their internal extension to an outside line (such as their cell phone) if providing them with a handset was not an option. Find Me/Follow Me features, as well as Voicemail to Email, make Hosted PBX a perfect solution for companies that have remote workers for any period of time.
Data Redundancy – Any employee working from home is most likely going to have some company-owned data on the computer they’re working on. Whether it’s a company owned laptop or their home computer, any data that gets created or modified by an employee working from home needs to be backed up. Providing backup software that automatically and securely pushes new and modified company data offsite will help ensure that any data employees are working on remotely won’t be lost in the event of a hard drive failure, a dropped (or lost) company laptop, or any other sort of potential catastrophe. Data will be encrypted as it’s backed up, helping to secure it, and making sure that your backup solution automatically uploads data will help prevent the “whoops… forgot to do that!” situations that almost NEVER end well.
Of course, these three keys don’t have to apply only to employees working from home in the summer months. Virtual employees can all use the above keys to maintain productivity, and employees who have these tools at their disposal no longer need to fall behind on work projects in the event of unexpected time off due to illness or bad weather. Maintaining employee productivity and keeping their workplace morale up will almost always lead to increased profits and job satisfaction across the board.
For more information about how Hosted PBX can help your employees increase productivity, download our free eBook “10 Reasons To Switch To Hosted PBX Service“. In it you’ll learn more about the various features and options Hosted PBX offers to help increase communications and productivity for any organization.