Most employees work remotely – can your department support them?

Working away from the office is becoming the norm for most employees, and IT needs to make sure it’s helping rather than hurting remote users’ productivity.

More work is being done by employees on an “anytime, anywhere” basis, according to a recent report by Forrester. Of more than 5,000 information workers surveyed, 66% work remotely at least once per month.

That includes people who work from home on a scheduled basis and those who spend time on the road, as well as folks who occasionally bring work home with them.

That means IT must be ready to support those remote and mobile users. But exactly what steps must be taken will depend on the specific makeup of the company’s workforce.

Forrester says companies must be able to:

  1. Know how and where those users are working. That will determine what technology IT needs to set up to give people access to the company’s network — for example VPNs, employee portals, etc.
  2. Decide what devices you will and won’t support. Employees working under different conditions will require different types of devices, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets. Some employees will probably want to choose their own gadgets, but you must determine which fit your company’s productivity and security needs.
  3. Find ways to keep workers connected. While remote employees bear the responsibility of staying in touch with their co-workers, IT must supply tools that allow them to do so, such as instant messaging, document collaboration tools, etc.
  4. Adjust the facilities budget. When employees work remotely full-time, that changes what the company must spend on desk space, on-site storage, and many other items. IT needs to know how many employees will be working outside the office on a permanent basis.

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