Oh Network Tree, Oh Network Tree, I Want To Work Remotely
Working remotely, when done with the proper planning, can be a great boon to any business. Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as having said: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Well, when you take the daily commute out of the picture your teleworkers will be healthier, and wiser, while your business can enjoy the wealth.
Health through absence
You’ve heard the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, well it might also make the heart grow stronger. There are a number of health benefits to be gained from teleworking.
“Ain’t nobody got time for that” – Kimberly Wilkins (NBC 2012)
Employees are often unwilling to take sick days, as they cannot afford the lost productivity or wages. As a result, instead of resting and recovering these workers will languish on in a sickly state for days if not weeks at a time. If they can work from home, then they’re resting without those losses.
How often have you heard someone gripe about how they felt “under the weather” while they were working? Unfortunately, with many illnesses the highly-infectious stage occurs while the person is only presenting minor symptoms. If they’re able to work from home when they’re feeling the onset of a cold or flu, then you might save the health of your other staff members.
Have you ever heard someone offhandedly make the comment that stress kills? They’re not wrong. Stress is known to have a number of negative health effects. Why not let your staff work remotely some days to alleviate stress? While HR might shut down your suggestion of extending it to a month and naming it “No-Pants November”, having a day every week where your employees can work comfortably from home will decrease their stress levels, improve their health, and may even save a life.
Wisdom through separation
“Distance has the same effect on the mind as on the eye.” – Samuel Johnson
Quite often, when one encounters an insurmountable problem, the issue is not that the problem is unsolvable; instead, the problem is often being looked at from the wrong angle. And never forget that the guy who came up with waffle shoe soles was inspired by his wife’s waffle iron. So, while your business may not benefit from repurposed kitchen utensils, it is undeniable that occasionally distancing your workers from their work may provide insights which would otherwise never come to light.
When people follow the same routine every day, waking up in their box, eating boxed food, leaving their box to drive a mobile box to another box, only to sit down and work in a box… is it any surprise that their thoughts get boxed in. Telling someone to think outside the box is about as clichéd as it is effective, but it’s actually great advice if you give your workers the means to do so. Let your workers change up their schedule, work different hours, and, most importantly, work from different locations.
Wealth through “outsourcing”
If it’s not in, it’s out. So if your employees aren’t in-house, they’re out. Outsourcing may not be the most accurate term to describe teleworking, but offering your employees the option to work “out-house” might go over poorly with HR.
How large does the utility bill wind up being for your business on any given month? In any conventional workplace environment, there are overhead costs. Maintenance costs, utility bills, even grocery bills add up. While one employee’s company funded coffee addiction may not be breaking the bank, saving the cost of ten in-house employees by letting them work from home might save you enough of your budget to install that new multi-factor authentication suite your Chief Security Officer keeps saying you need.
Working from home is better than not working altogether. Unless your employees are heartless automatons, they will get sick, have family emergencies, get injured, and generally be unable to show up to work on occasion. If they don’t have to be physically present to do their job, the frequency of these occurrences decreases. Your employee with the stomach flu may not be willing or able to make it into work, but they may be willing to work on some projects while staying home in bed.
Do you need more of a reason to let your employees work remotely? What if I told you that happier, healthier workers work harder? Research done by the University of Warwick shows a direct correlation between worker mood and productivity. Happy workers work harder, while unhappy workers work less efficiently.
Before you go opening up your firewall to all inbound traffic, there’s one thing you really need to plan for first. If you’re going to let your employees’ work remotely, you need a secure method of ensuring the person trying to log in is who they claim to be.
One great way to accomplish this is by finding yourself an authentication solution that offers multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication allows you to mitigate the risk of impersonation by requiring a second factor of authentication, like a USB key or smartphone app, in addition to the password they already use.