Once frowned upon, many companies are now more open to the idea of their employees working from home. Innovations in technology have made it easier for people to have the same access in their home as they would have in the office.
The benefits of remote working can vary from flexibility of hours to saving on expenses associated with commuting to-and-from work. But there are benefits for the business as well. People tend to be more productive when they work from home because they don’t have to deal with the typical office distractions. In addition, studies show that employees rank the flexibility to work outside of the office higher than financial compensation.
From a business perspective, one of the biggest concerns is security. From an employee standpoint, isolation and lack of personal interaction may be a problem. Some companies are also concerned that their employees might work fewer hours if they’re working from home unsupervised, but the reality is that many employees end up working longer hours. Not because there’s necessarily more work to do, but because—without a daily commute—they can start their day earlier and end it later.
If you’re still concerned about the hours your employees are working, establish an agreed upon arrangement that specifies the hours that the person is expected to be available by phone or email.
The key to success is developing a plan that takes your company’s—and employees—needs into consideration. That means making sure that employees remain productive and happy while having the technology they need to do their job efficiently.
Not all job requirements can be successfully fulfilled at home, though. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself a couple of questions before getting started:
How will working from home impact the rest of the staff? A position that has a lot of daily interaction with the team probably isn’t a good candidate to work from home. While many issues can be resolved over the phone, chat, or email, some situations are best dealt with in person.
Can the employee be relied upon to work without supervision? There is a great deal of trust involved when allowing employees to work from home. At the end of the day, the amount of work being done will indicate how successful the arrangement is, but the true measurement will be if employees remain productive on a regular basis.
Does the employee have an acceptable home work environment? It seems like an obvious question, but it’s perhaps the most important. Will they be able to do their job without constant distractions from children or pets?
Building the right home office
For workers whose primary office is in their home, it’s imperative that they have the right technology get the job done in a timely and efficient manner. Here are 7 types of technology that all work-from-home employees should have.
A dedicated landline—most people use their mobile phone as their primary phone these days, but as long as service continues to be spotty, a landline is necessary to ensure that important calls aren’t dropped.
Skype for Business—for about $3 a month, businesses can make unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada, with the added convenience of being able to make calls directly from your computer. Its low price-point makes it an attractive option for people looking for an alternative to their cellphone (or landline), but it’s worth noting that system downtime and security breaches are a possibility.
Printers—every office needs a good printer for those documents that can’t be shared electronically. Many of HP’s latest printers are connected to the internet, making it possible to print from virtually anywhere. Printers like the HP Officejet 6700 Premium e-All-in-One not only offers HP ePrint capabilities, but give you the freedom to print, scan and fax—all in one machine.
Cloud computing and storage—businesses which store their data in a virtual environment make it easier for remote workers to have the same access to information—no matter where they are. Services like Box provide businesses with a flexible content management solution that empowers users to share and access content from anywhere, on any device at any time (internet access required). Learn more about HP & Box and our FREE storage offers with purchase of qualifying Desktops.
Virtual webinar/web conferencing—tight budgets make it difficult for people to travel to every meeting, but online webinars and web conferencing are the next best thing. All you need is an internet connection to be able to collaborate on documents or hold meetings. Online meeting places, like HP Virtual Rooms, are ideal for meetings, customer briefings, training events, and more. Learn how you can get one-year FREE activation with qualifying HP desktop purchases.
Document management tools—with workers scattered across various locations, being able to keep track of documents is critical to remaining efficient. A good document management tool stores electronic documents and keeps track of all the different versions that have been created.
The right computer—last, but certainly not least, you need a computer that can handle the rigors of your daily job. HP Elite PCs are the toughest, most reliable business PCs that HP currently offers. And no matter where you are, HP Elite Service & Support is available to help 24/7/365—for FREE! An absolute must when you don’t have the luxury of an onsite IT department.
While some organizations could save thousands of dollars, others may not save much by letting employees work from home. However, just giving employees the option is something that many companies can’t afford to pass up.
This article was originally posted in HP’s Technology at Work email newsletter. Click here to subscribe today