Cloud computing makes it easier for small businesses to establish telecommuting programs, allowing employees to work from home. When your employees work remotely, your business can reduce the cost of office space and decrease energy consumption. Telecommuting staff can help you avoid lapses in productivity resulting from employees’ inability to travel to the office for any number of reasons.
Is Telecommuting Right for Your Business?
When determining whether telecommuting might be right for your business, consider the advantages and disadvantages of having people perform work offsite. While studies indicate that remote workers are more productive and content, there is little or no opportunity for them to bond with their co-workers. While telecommuting can make it easier for employees to accomplish rigorous tasks without office-related interruptions or distractions, face-to-face meetings must be limited to Skype or other videoconferencing platforms. Although some employees might prefer working remotely, others might need to work away from their homes because of distractions from other family members, especially children.
Use Remote Freelancing Workers to Fill the Gaps
If your business experiences a backlog of work due to limited staffing, consider using freelance personnel, working remotely, to handle those tasks. Cloud computing allows telecommuters to retrieve and complete work assignments from any location. The finished product is immediately available to you in the cloud, where you can edit or augment the finished product. Freelance workers are particularly desirable because they are typically independent contractors, rather than employees.
However, if your company has telecommuting employees rather than independent contractors, your local jurisdiction may require workers’ compensation coverage for those people. Telecommuting workers may be entitled to such coverage, which may be limited to situations involving injuries sustained within a specific work area, such as a den or designated bedroom.
Steps to Building a Remote Team
As you begin building a remote team, establish objectives for the entire telecommuting program and particular targets concerning what the telecommuters should accomplish. You might plan to focus the remote staff on particular projects, with limited access to specific documents and resources.
Your next step should be to address any connectivity issues that might arise. It may be necessary to provide wireless access to workers whose homes lack high-speed data connections.
Arrange for remote staff to utilize virtual private network connectivity for encrypted communication across the internet to your server to protect confidential information. While a number of virtual private network platforms are secure, fast and useful, Free Canada VPN is available at no cost.
Make sure that the hardware and software that your remote team uses suits your requirements. Establish a training program for your telecommuting employees, and evaluate their proficiency with the system. Assign a staff member to support the remote workers and the telecommuting program itself.
Make plans for emergency situations when your entire office might have to work remotely, due to bad weather or office infrastructure problems, such as a building fire. Consider which employees would have expanded responsibilities during those situations.