Telecommuting has become one of the key buzzwords of 2013. While by no means a new concept, the rate at which technology is evolving has increased the ability to be profitable and productive while employees work remotely. In the past, working from home meant using a floppy disk, working on the documents or spreadsheets and maybe answering emails if the system allowed it. Now, with the deployment of cloud technology, VoIP phone systems, video conferencing and mobile devices and applications, working from the living room is as easy as working from the office.
According to the Telework Research Network, the number of remote workers jumped 57 percent between 2005 and 2012. That brought the total number of teleworkers from 1.8 million to 3.1 million.
While IT Principals find themselves managing all systems required to ensure remote access and telecommuting is possible, they, or other members of the IT department rarely find themselves able to benefit from it. It may seem difficult to allow tech teams to work remotely, but can be effective with the right systems in place.
A recent Computerworld article found that supervisory roles and hands-on roles that involve hardware or business planning should stay on the premises. However, writing code and phone support can easily be done remotely.
“There is [now] a basic understanding that people can work together without being physically together,” Gill Gordon, an IT consultant, told the news source. “Offices will never become extinct, but the notion of mobility is entrenched.”
IT Principals need to be aware of this trend because employees certainly are. Computerworld’s annual salary survey found that telecommuting consistently ranks in the top five job priorities for respondents. IT departments need to make sure they have the resources in place to manage a remote workforce as it shifts to become the norm in the corporate world.