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The Rise & Ramifications Of Telecommuting


Employers are often reluctant to allow their workforce out into the world, despite the undeniable rise in telecommuting. Many cite security concerns. After all, with the number of recent security breaches, security is on every executive’s mind.

Other top concerns include:

-Having employees together in the office may allow for better sharing of ideas and idea generation.

-Employees may not be as productive when they’re not in the office—and managers want the option of overseeing their employees’ work.

But a bit of research shows these objections simply don’t hold up.

First, the use of a secure virtual data room can keep information secure, while also allowing for remote access. With audit logs and permission-based access, a secure virtual data room not only keeps information safe remotely, it allows companies to control who has access to what information and to track who accesses that information, when and how often.

Second, with the right tools, idea sharing and idea generation do not suffer. High-tech company Cisco not only found telecommuters are effective at communicating and collaborating, it also improved employee retention and saved $277 million by allowing its employees to telecommute.

And finally, a recent Workshifting study found as much as a 27 percent rise in productivity among telecommuting employees, with most employees who are allowed to telecommute working an average of 2.4 days outside the office.

Adapting to A Remote Workforce

Telecommuting does present companies with certain challenges; but with a few easy-to-implement policies and management strategies, companies can recognize the benefits of telecommuting without risking secure documents or a loss in productivity.

The 5 Rules of Managing Remote Employees:

1. Utilize Modern Technology. The best option for allowing secure documents to be accessible without compromising security is a secure virtual data room. It will allow employees to share sensitive documents without compromising the data they contain.

2. Set Up Clear (and measurable) Performance Standards. To sort out those employees who simply can’t handle working without a manager looking over their shoulder, employers need to set up clear performance standards with regular check-ins.

3. Keep Team Members in Close Communication. Even when offsite, it’s important to keep the team communicating. Here, again, modern technology comes into play. Instant messaging, intranets, wikis, web conferencing and other emerging technologies provide important tools for keeping in touch without physical proximity.

4. Adapt Coaching Strategies for Distance Management. Coaching employees without direct observation requires evaluating work outputs and deliverables and then providing feedback, just as would occur in an office situation. Things like sales quotas, contributions in team meetings and prepared reports and documents (which can be shared via a secure virtual data room) should be looked at instead of just face-to-face time in the office.

5. Have A Clear and Collaborative Purpose. All teams should understand what they are contributing to the larger company, but this is even more important when the employees aren’t all physically at that company’s location everyday. Understanding their purpose and encouragement to work collaboratively to accomplish it will allow a remote team to make significant contributions to the larger enterprise.

With these strategies, employers can ensure they see all of the benefits of allowing employees to telecommute without potential problems arising. Sensitive information will remain secure, employees will remain productive and the company’s bottom line will continue to climb.

What is your company’s telecommuting policy? Are your employees allowed to work from home? Tell us why or why not in the comments.


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