Enterprises need to overcome their initial fears of embracing a remote workforce if they are to stay competitive in the coming years.
In today's fast-paced business world, employees demand that enterprises support a remote workforce, especially as mobile devices gain momentum in the enterprise. The concept of teleworking isn't entirely new, as companies used to support the same mentality, though the way in which operations were carried out back then were much different. In the past, individuals could work from home, save information to an external device and send it to the office over a dial-up modem.
More recently, the business phone system changed to VoIP and individuals were able to access and share mission-critical resources through cloud networks. At the same time, however, Yahoo! president and CEO Marissa Mayer highlighted the concerns associated with working remotely, noting that failing to implement the proper security precautions could invoke serious consequences to the unprepared organization.
Meanwhile, experts also noted that teleworking tools impair overall productivity and collaboration in the business. This has led many enterprise decision-makers to consider the potential challenges associated with telecommuting.
A recent SYS-CON Media report noted that executives should not fear innovative opportunities like remote connectivity, especially because enterprise VoIP, cloud services and other telepresence technologies have evolved to support deep and secure connections between people who work from home and those who carry out tasks in the office.
Embracing the future of working
Organizations used to only permit remote working when tasks were able to be completed in isolation and didn't require managers to monitor operations to ensure tasks were carried out efficiently. During the past several years, however, emerging trends happened to make teleworking a more viable option for enterprises across industries.
SYS-CON Media noted that an enabling technology was born – the IP phone system – and a new business model emerged – the "lean" strategy. When these two services were simultaneously embraced in the enterprise, decision-makers recognized the ability to let individuals work from home or elsewhere without introducing connectivity or collaboration concerns.
Unlike the land line office phone systems of the past, VoIP enables employees to access the network through a number of different endpoints that support a softphone application. The news source noted that these technologies inevitably evolved over the years into what it is today: a high-quality phone service that supports the use of multiple applications, including video conferencing and data sharing, that can be accessed through multiple endpoints.
The emergence of cloud computing and VoIP augmented the lean business model, which essentially highlighted how companies would cut back on non-essential spending during an unstable economy and restore operations back to normal during the recovery. However, the last recession lasted so long that enterprises began embracing these initiatives as the norm, SYS-CON Media stated.
As bring your own device and other mobile initiatives continue to impact how individuals view the ability to access corporate networks, enterprise decision-makers need to consider supporting remote connectivity or risk not being able to appeal to future workers.
Teleworking becoming the norm
An IDC report highlighted how the population of teleworkers is constantly growing, especially as hosted PBX solutions and other advanced phone systems emerge that support instant remote connectivity. In fact, the number of mobile workers around the world is expected to reach 1.3 billion people by 2015, accounting for more than 37 percent of the entire global workforce. This jump from just more than 1 billion in 2010 suggests that the evolution of technology will continue to play a role in how employees carry out mission-critical enterprise operations.
Another Microsoft report highlighted how organizations need to embrace remote workforce mentalities or risk not being able to attract and retain employees in the future.
"Telework is no longer a company perk for employees but a business imperative. Ten years ago, it was seen more as an employee benefit. Today, businesses around the world are seeing telework as a necessity," said Ron Markezich, corporate vice president of Microsoft's U.S. Enterprise and Partner Group.
SYS-CON Media noted that the VoIP and cloud services that support remote connections will continue to evolve in waves, eliminating prior limitations and boosting internal and external operations. More recent generations of remote workers have access to sophisticated and high-quality collaboration solutions that make communicating and sharing information with colleagues, customers and partners convenient and easy. Cloud VoIP, for example, is emerging as a real solution to the age-old interoperability issue, in which different devices and endpoints had trouble connecting with one another.
By planning ahead and developing robust training and awareness programs, organizations can be sure their use of innovative technologies and business models enables individuals to carry out mission-critical operations from virtually anywhere at any time, without inadvertently introducing security or management complications. As corporate demands evolve, embracing these advanced strategies will be critical to staying competitive.