Telecommuting and remote working are increasingly becoming a reality of today’s workforce. The good news is businesses of almost any budget can get in on this growing trend with a few key technological tools:
Cloud Computing: Your remote employees will need access to the shared files, documents, and programs that in-office employees use. The shift to cloud-based storage has become a workplace norm in the past five years, but if you don’t have a system yet, Microsoft, Apple, and Google offer various levels of storage for any budget. Or, opt for Dropbox to share large files.
Phone and Video Conferencing Services: Keeping remote employees feeling engaged in the goings-on of your office is an important aspect to successful telecommuting. Reliable phone and video conferencing can provide much needed face time and accountability. GotoMeeting is one of the most popular software options for video conferencing, while Skype and Google Hangouts provide free and reasonably-priced options as well.
Enterprise Social Networks: This is probably the most powerful tool in creating strong collaboration between far-flung teammates. Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) put project management, materials, and real-time task tracking in one place so teammates can see their progress and further work together. Yammer, Sharepoint, and Salesforce lead the pack in this arena.
Even with dependable technology on your side, nothing replaces a strong policy concerning telecommuting. Work with your employees, both remote and in-office, to craft policy that is fair and clear to both sides and launch your program from there.
By Prasana William
Image Source: Benjamin Thompson on Flickr