‘The workplace is no longer a location’ is a common phrase used in our industry to reflect the number of remote and mobile members of staff that contribute to the business landscape. The days of people working 9 to 5 in an office is still relevant for many, but technology has given businesses the freedom to allow their staff to work from home, from small branch offices or from hotel rooms, cafes, trains, airports, etc.
I am an example of a remote worker. I work half of the time in an office that is an hour’s drive away from where I live. The rest of the time, I work from my desk at home, but still feel connected to my colleagues and other contacts as if I was in the office.
These are the tools I use:
Powered by my home broadband connection, I can connect to the corporate network, my PC and servers at work via VPN connectivity. This is a secure, private connection that requires two-factor authentication for me to log on. There is no need to copy documents I have been working on to take them home on a memory stick so that I can continue my work away from the office. The business knows the same security settings I work under in the office are being applied at home.
Microsoft Office 365
The entire company is signed up to this cloud subscription service which means our IT team has been alleviated from the ongoing administration of updating Office software while every member of staff has the option to download the mobile app to keep track of emails on the go. Even if I am not at my PC, I can still respond to emails.
Again, we all use unified communications apps to ascertain the availability of colleagues to decide on the best way to contact them. The presence feature shows if they are busy, in a meeting or absent, so I can then choose to send them an email or leave them a voicemail message. If they are available, I can send them an instant message, call them or even video call them for a face-to-face meeting, while having the option to share my screen with them or view theirs for discussion. My desk phone is linked to my mobile, so any call is immediately transferred if I do not answer it in the office and I have access to the internal corporate directory to quickly call my colleagues.
With all these tools available, I can work equally well at home as I can in the office without losing time spent travelling to work.
Other businesses also use handsets linked to cloud-hosted telephone systems to give their remote workers a desk phone option. These work in the same way as a desk phone in the office with all the features and functions available with the ability to seamlessly transfer calls to colleagues using the corporate directory.
Security can be extended to mobile devices with a cloud solution that blocks malicious threats before a connection is even established to protect your network.
All this technology means remote workers should no longer feel remote! They remain fully connected to their colleagues and customers to enjoy enhanced collaboration and quicker decision making. There is no reason they should feel they have been left out in the cold.
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