Telecommuting yields benefits when supported correctly

    Businesses are much more flexible than they are today, especially as enterprises continue to support a growing remote workforce that can conduct mission-critical corporate tasks from virtually anywhere at any time. The rapid proliferation of cloud computing and mobile devices in the private sector is giving organizations new opportunities to promote teleworking habits. Because of the growing popularity of telecommuting, executives need to consider implementing new programs to reinforce this capability in their company.

    A recent poll of more than 1,000 Americans by ORC International revealed that roughly 17 percent of employed respondents telecommute on a regular basis, while another 17 percent said they have done so in the past. This suggests that the business phone system is evolving into a more sophisticated device capable of letting individuals connect to the network from home, on the go or somewhere else outside of the office.

    Still, the concept of "working from home" is relatively new and, as a result, sparks some discussion in the private sector. While many individuals believe the ability to telework can improve operations and productivity, others think that without the proper supervision telecommuters simply do not complete what needs to get done.

    ORC International revealed that approximately 65 percent of Americans believe remote workers can use advanced tools to their advantage to stay productive, regardless of where they conduct operations. Conversely, 29 percent of respondents said telecommuters spend most of their time "goofing off." Despite these varied perceptions, approximately half of Americans will give a company the benefit of the doubt if it cuts back on its teleworking strategies, as there are many potential issues that still need to be ironed out.

    Supporting a remote workforce without problems

    While teleworking can offer companies a number of benefits, it may not be right for every organization, ORC International noted. In many cases, organizations will have to replace their old phone systems with more innovative technology capable of providing remote connectivity without encountering performance or quality issues.

    A report by the Harvard Business Review highlighted how employees are often more productive when they are outside of the office because they try harder to communicate with individuals inside of the workplace. On the other hand, people who are used to being surrounded by colleagues often grow complacent more easily, which can negatively affect operations and efficiency.

    The Harvard Business Review noted that organizations supporting virtual teams need to do their utmost to ensure remote workers make effective use of advanced technologies. In many cases, enterprises looking to expand their horizons into the teleworking landscape adopt hosted PBX systems and other cloud offerings because they provide anywhere, anytime connectivity to mission-critical resources and solutions. Using this technology ensures that individuals will be able to collaborate effectively with colleagues, partners and clients at all times, regardless of location or platform.

    Hosted PBX systems are also extremely agile and scalable, meaning they are capable of reinforcing fluctuating volumes of traffic from off- and on-site workers. This makes them an ideal solution for companies looking to expand - or start building - their remote workforce.

    As the mobile landscape continues to evolve, the prospect of supporting individuals outside of the office will become more realistic to organizations that cannot see through the mixed perceptions of teleworking. By planning ahead and working with a trusted service provider, decision-makers can find the right telecommunications systems and strategies to adopt and support remote workers without compromising security, efficiency or job satisfaction.