Given today’s fast and global life, being tied down to a location for certain task is often too much to ask for. You have smartphones that don’t require you to go home or office to check your email. Your Phone/MP3 player is in your pocket always at your disposal for music/video. You are carrying Kindles for reading books (and not just a few, all of them).
Your office at your fingertips
People now understand that it is counter-productive to always be in needed in office for every little work related thing. Technology is allowing you to govern your time the way you want. Never before has the problem of physical presence in office been more constraining than now when you are often deal with people in different time zones. People often take conference calls from home at night, taking down notes of little things to do next day. Now you can take your office (not just the phone) to your home and be fully functional. Your documents, your office network should be there when you need them.
Gone are the days when it was acceptable to hear, “I am not in office at this time, I’ll send you that important document tomorrow”. Companies need to be nimble all the time. Telecommuting via VPNs, is here to stay. It is not just the ability to work from outside the office, it puts your entire office at your fingertips. Companies are fast recognizing the importance and benefits of enhanced productivity of remote workers (full time or part time). Some analysts even say that remote workers can often be up to 40% more productive, it is a surprisingly large number, something your company should not ignore.
I have read many articles (like IT Business’s Telecommuting benefits both employees and employers) that give a glimpse into how telecommuting is increasing productivity. It is seen as a perk for some offices, but in others it is indispensable, especially those that have a lot of workers on the road or working from other locations.
VPNs allow fully functional remote connectivity to your office. Some good solutions (like CipherGraph :-) allow access on mobile phones and tablets too. This is incredible flexibility and power that you just handed to your employee. Little things like generating a report or creating an invoice can be done from anywhere, even the client’s office. Speed is critical to all business, loss of time is loss of money. If your office does not provide a solution for remote connectivity, you are lacking the pace that your competition can (and will) take advantage of. Everyone knows the price of moving slower than the competition, “going out of business”.
Morale, Flexibility and Employee Retention
Importance of morale is another critical thing that any seasoned professional will be able to tell you about. Little perks that benefit both the company and the employees equally, go a long way. Telecommuting (even few days) makes your workplace seem that much more flexible and trusting of their employees. Good workers recognize and appreciate that. When I was working at my previous company, I used to work one or two days from home in a week. That saved me a total of four hours of commute time weekly (in horrible traffic) and on those days I had a jump-start because I was fresh when I start work. I was more productive in general and not just on the days I was not in office. Not to mention that I got more hours of my life into useful work than looking at tail lights in a traffic-jam. There is no simpler way to add more hours in a work day.
Incredible flexibility and Savings on External Contractors/Consultants/Others
Remote workers are not the only things that VPNs can enable. In my company I often hire external consultants to do some part-time work. Sometime they are not from the same city, but this never prevented me from hiring them. I would just give them access on my VPN (access limited to the parts of my network that they would need to access), when the contract is over, I can just suspend their login. This means that I can hire based on talent alone, their location is immaterial. I also saved a bunch of money since I no longer have to pay temporary relocation for them.
There are other cases where you might want to use a VPN, every once in a while there are people you have to work with but you cannot accommodate them in your office (or don’t want to) because of some reason (possibly office capacity). This may be some audit team or customers or some other people who may need access to limited portions of your company resources. VPNs are pretty much designed for this scenario. Some companies have to hire financial auditors who need access to company’s payroll portal and leave management portal, they often work in teams and are working on sensitive financial data that is meant for executive/board staff only. You do not want your meeting rooms blocked for days (non-stop) and certainly do not want them discussing company financials among your employees.
Efficient Office Space Use and Savings
I myself operate from a much smaller space than I would need, to if all my employees had to come to office every day. Earlier, all my employees were working from home and I operated out of a virtual office (paying just $80 as office rent per month). In both cases I saved thousands of dollars by using a VPN. It is not just the seating space; I am talking about all the resources I save (including energy, cooling etc.). A good article that explains this is Plantronics smartens up its headquarters for remote workers
VPNs are loved by everyone
The best part of being in my business: We are not an additional liability / process, we are 360 degree facilitators. We make work easy, enhance productivity of companies and no one feels burdened, not the employees or the IT or the corporate executives. In fact, they all appreciate the freedom, peace of mind and savings (and not just in the same respective order :-)
Telecommuting benefits both employees and employers: http://blogs.itbusiness.ca/2011/01/telecommuting-benefits-both-employees-and-employers/
Telecommuter-Friendly Office Leads to Happier Workforce: http://www.mobiledia.com/news/120383.html
Remote Workers: http://blog.delawareinc.com/2011/11/hiring-remote-workers/
Plantronics smartens up its headquarters for remote workers: http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/design-architecture/plantronics-smartens-up-its-headquarters-for-remote-workers/2755