IT and the surge of remote workers

With the advent of mobile devices and easy remote access to your data via cloud applications, telecommuting has never been easier or more popular with business owners. Why limit the talent pool you draw from to an hour commute when you can tap into the most qualified people from around the country…or the world?

We have shifted from a wired to wireless world, which has helped accelerate the surge in teleworkers. According to Global Workplace Analytics, nearly 3.3 million people work remotely (not including the self-employed). That’s an 80% increase from 2005 to 2012, and based on current trends, it is estimated that regular telecommuters will total 3.9 million by 2016, a 21% increase from the current level. Bestselling 37signals founders Fried and Hansson, and authors of “Rework,” explain the challenges and unexpected benefits of telecommuting to both employers and employees in their recent book “Remote: Office Not Required.” 

So how does this affect your IT? Understanding the implications of remote employees provides an opportunity to reevaluate your IT infrastructure, manage your IT budget, and maximize employee productivity.

For example, what is your hardware replacement plan? Have you updated it recently? Sure, you are probably saving money because you no longer have a server in the closet to manage, but mobile devices need to be replaced about twice as often as those desktops. How many of us hand over our iPhone or laptop to our kids on the weekends and yet expect them to have the stability of our old desktop? If your tools of production are shifting to mobile devices and you’re not budgeting a two-year replacement cycle, then you may be paying for it in loss of productivity. 

Also, with the shift from a PC-centric to mobile-centric business environment, it is important to consider how mobile-friendly your critical applications are. Is your accounting system or CRM mobile-ready? If your business solutions do not have a clear mobile path, you may want to consider other solutions so you can take advantage of the benefits of remote access to applications and data. The good news is that over the past few years most critical applications have developed an SaaS (Software as a Service) strategy that is remote-ready, and typically reduce infrastructure and support costs.

More remote-friendly business applications and devices are being developed all the time, so we recommend you have a plan to regularly reevaluate your solutions and how they can support employee productivity.

Let us know how Sinu can assist your business as you evaluate your remote solutions and how to more effectively support your telecommuters.