The Technology behind Telecommuting

Last week, a memo sent from Yahoo’s executive vice president of people and development (Human Resources) revealed that Yahoo was no longer allowing their employees to work from home. Soon after the memo was leaked, Yahoo employees and working professionals throughout North America where in an uproar. By calling their at-home workers back to the office, Yahoo has ignited a telecommuting debate that is spreading through a variety of industries. However, not many people are discussing the technology that enables employees to work from anywhere they desire.

With so many studies and opinions in support of telecommuting, the only factor that businesses need to consider is the technology and internet connection being used by remote employees. Companies invest a large amount of money in their internet service to ensure that they’re employees have a fast and secure connection. However, there is little to no control over the type of internet service that employees utilize while working remotely.

Improved network connectivity gives employees the ability to connect digitally to share documents, send files, and conduct video meetings and conferences. Workers can function and communicate as if they were actually in the office, but what type of connection are they using to do so? While transferring company information, it is imperative that your employees have the proper security measures in place in order to ensure that the data isn’t compromised.

The virtual office is an extension of the corporate network, and a corporation’s security is only as strong as its weakest link. Having a virtual private network (VPN) that is secured by Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) is essential. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser that ensures all transferred data remains private and integral. IPsec secures communications over Internet Protocol (IP) networks through the use of cryptographic security services.

Additionally, it is important to ensure that the devices used by remote employees are cleaned of any viruses or malware that could damage or disable your company’s network. It’s recommended that companies outfit their remote employees with a dedicated PC or laptop to be used exclusively for work in order to minimize security risks.

Once your company has established a secure connection, remote employees can easily connect with the office virtually. Countless studies have already proven that employees can be just as productive, if not more so, while working remotely. Also, surveys have repeatedly shown that 80-86% of employees want the opportunity to work from home, so why not let them? This isn’t to say that every single employee should work remotely, but having more flexibility translates into higher job satisfaction. And happy employees are good for business.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung


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