One of the admitted perks to having a writing-related gig – and more importantly one for a tech company, is staying on the cusp of innovative technologies – not just in the topics we cover, but in the technology we use to work each day.
If it wasn’t for these advancements, I’d still be doing an 80-mile commute each day of the week on a congested highway – and the laundry list of ill effects that can have on someone’s mental and physical health is an entire discussion of its own. So I am thankful for IP technologies and a growing remote workforce.
This “new way of working” is quickly ramping up around the world because it bridges distance gaps and cuts costs for businesses while also improving employee efficiency. One recent study from Talk & Vision found that remote collaboration is expected to increase with more than half of the respondents (51 percent) saying they expect employees will mainly collaborate virtually and use UC over the next ten years. IDC (News - Alert) also predicts the mobile workforce population will reach 1.3 billion by 2015 - representing 37.2 percent of the total workforce.
Once people hear about my remote working capabilities I am usually inundated with questions about how easy it must be and how they too can convince their bosses to let them work from home.
You have to actually work. Working from home might mean you can stay in your PJs if you so please – but it doesn’t mean you can nap on the couch all day and expect to get away with it. Not only do presence technologies exist to show when you are actively working online. Also, all those deadlines that were looming in the office – they still exist regardless of where you’re logging in to work.
Gaining trust is also key to getting management to agree to let you work remotely. Long lapses in between emails correspondences that aren’t explained will appear as if you are doing nothing from the people on the other end. Be over responsive to requests; answer all of your e-mails, IMs and phone calls as soon as possible, and in a very timely manner.
Technology is of the utmost importance. Make sure you are supplied with everything you need – unified communications, remote capabilities and mobile devices are all important parts to making your work at home experience a positive one. Have the company’s IT team set you up to easily connect to your desktop remotely. You want to utilize all the tools and access all the documents on your office computer when you connect remotely. Web mail service or partial access to files just isn’t going to cut it. Technologies that fall under the UC umbrella will become your best friend. Video conferencing, IM, e-Mail, VoIP – learn to use them to enhance your efficiency and stay in touch with all of your colleagues and customers so they can’t even tell you’ve left your office chair.
You should also put mobile capabilities to use. If you’ve been set up with a laptop and you can head outdoors to enjoy the weather, or get out into the field to do your work tasks - that means getting more quality work done – do it. You should demonstrate that you are worth the remote access grant, and can get more done using it than you can tethered to your office desk and sitting in traffic every day.
Try it out first. Are you easily distracted? Do you work better under the watchful eye of others? If you are getting nothing done while you work from home – then having the capability will only be damaging. While remote access technologies are innovative, and the thought of working from home seems like the perfect luxury, it really is best for individuals who possess characteristics like the ability to multitask, work easily independently, a self-starter who can take initiative and someone who can follow directions well. If you are the type of person who gets out of your office chair to take a walk around the office for some quick water cooler chit chat to decompress for the day – or if you share a home with others who will most likely be in and out of your work area at home – you will need to really try the work from home scenario out first, before taking the full plunge.