Freedom From The Office: Essential Tech For Remote-Working Businesses
In the not too distant past, the way a company worked was very simple. All employees would gather together in an office every day, usually between the hours of 9am and 5pm, and they would work as a collective group. If an employee couldn’t attend the workplace for some reason, they did not contribute to that day’s discussion.
2018 brings us a business world that looks very different. It is now possible for businesses to forgo the expensive overheads of an office and formal business premises, instead allowing employees to work remotely, at their convenience. Many businesses that once thrived in a standardized environment are now making the shift to remote working thanks to the flexibility it offers, as well as the potential savings in the working budget. If you’re tempted to follow the pioneers’ leads and transition your own company into more, if not total, remote working, then you’ll need to ensure you have the following…
Computers / laptops
If you are making the transition to working remotely after being based in an office, then you will usually be expected to bear the cost of a functioning laptop or computer for employees to use at home. If employees wish to use their own devices, that’s their decision, but you should at least make the offer of providing equipment if required.
Webcam (or webcam capabilities)
Whether you issue standalone webcams, or just ensure they’re included in your hardware, you’re going to want to ensure that video conversations are possible. While you can conduct a huge amount of business using text-based applications, for some areas (such as design), you’ll find it beneficial to be able to have a version of a face-to-face to help hash out any problems.
If your employees usually work off a company system, then they are going to need to be able to access that system from their remote working environment. The simplest way to achieve this is to move most, if not all, of your business software and applications into the cloud. This is easier than it may sound, especially if you enlist the likes of WhiteOwl to help ease the transition along as smoothly as possible.
IT support systems
The last thing you want is for your remote workers to be stuck, unable to work, due to technical issues. In fact, it’s fear of this exact scenario that is preventing many business owners from making the leap to remote working, despite the fact that workers — particularly younger workers — far prefer working in this way.
You have two options to solve this issue. You can issue “backup” computers that can be used in the event of a primary computer crashing. Alternatively, you can source an IT management company who act much like an IT department of a business, helping to resolve issues as and when they arise.
Mobile data connections
Finally, the last barrier you will need to overcome with remote working is a loss of broadband connection for your workers. Outages can and do happen, particularly during times of bad weather, so you need to figure out a way to navigate around this problem.
The most obvious solution is to invest in mobile data connections and mobile Wifi devices for all members of staff. This may be somewhat costly, but is nothing compared to the general overheads of running an office.
If you have pieces of the puzzle in place, there’s no reason why your business can’t transition to remote working with relative ease.