Small businesses may rely on employees or contractors who telecommute, working at least part of the time from home or other off-site locations. To keep any telecommuters on your payroll efficient and connected to you and your other employees without interruption, you’ll need to develop ways to exchange information quickly and securely between different work sites, by VPN, Dropbox, cloud service and other methods.
Telecommuting works best when your employees, both on-site and off-site, are on the same page technologically. Do they all have computers that perform well? Do your telecommuters have reliable access to high-speed Internet wherever they’re working? These are just the basic requirements for keeping your whole team working efficiently, instead of suffering from delays because someone’s Internet connection failed or their computer inexplicably crashed.
Speaking of computers crashing, how are your telecommuters backing up their data? Furthermore, do they have adequate protection against malware? Are you using mobile device management? Any computer or other device can become a point of vulnerability for cybercriminals to exploit; they might extract sensitive data, such as passwords or private documents, related to your business and potentially get at other devices on your network.
In addition to having a particular set of requirements for the devices telecommuters use, and their methods for backing up data and maintaining high standards of security, you’ll want to foster a sense of community between all of your employees. Though telecommuting has its benefits for individual employees and might save your business money, one of the potential downsides is that employees don’t chat face-to-face on a daily basis and exchange ideas in-person.
The right technology and software will diminish the sense of isolation and encourage interaction between different employees, even if they aren’t all in the office. For instance, your employees can easily view each other’s work and share files if you use a file hosting service like Dropbox. If all employees have computers with webcams, you can set up video conferences via Skype, Google Hangout, or other platforms. Gmail’s online chat feature can be an easy way for you and your employees to quickly ask questions, share thoughts, or simply touch base. The use of cloud-based project-tracking software can help keep everyone on the same page regarding the goals, needs, and progress of any work-related project.
Reliable small business IT services are necessary for your business to function without delays, lost data, or hidden vulnerabilities to cyberattacks. You can also consult with IT services on setting up the optimal work environment for your employees, both on-site and off-site, with solutions tailored to your particular business and its needs. If you’re based in and around Los Angeles, contact XOverture to further discuss solutions that increase efficiency, security, and connectedness.