Teleworking is on the rise, creating new challenges and opportunities for enterprises committed to the promise of borderless networks.
Consider a few projections and estimates:
- Number of teleworkers by 2011: 112 million
- Percentage of employees that work outside the corporate HQ: 90%
- Average amount saved per year on fuel by employees who work one day at home: $500
- Average commercial real estate savings per year for a full time teleworker: $22,000
Considering the challenges of the current down economy and the clear savings associated with telework, it seems likely that teleworking will become an attractive approach for more and more organizations in the coming years. It’s certainly attractive to workers seeking schedule flexibility and better work-life balance. They want to save time and costs on commuting.
While there may have been concerns in the past about the ability of teleworkers to build trust with their colleagues and effectively collaborate, the maturing of technology over the years has addressed many of these concerns. Rich communication and collaboration capabilities – matched with convenience and cost savings – have dramatically shifted the equation in favor of telework.
The question is: What will it take to successfully implement, manage and secure robust networks and IT resources that will support the move to a virtual office environment?
One thing that’s clear is that teleworkers, full- and part-time home office workers, mobile contractors, and executives will expect the same rich array of network services – including data, voice, video and various applications – they could expect to access at a corporate office.
But that won’t be enough. New telework solutions must also meet the requirements of IT. They must simplify the process of providing rich network services to remote locations. Deployment and integration must be simple as well, making it easy to scale with the demands of the enterprise. Moreover, security must be uncompromising, ensuring traffic controls and identity management can be strictly enforced.
Finally, it’s critical to ensure the business objectives of the organization are addressed. Solutions must drive measurable productivity gains and cost reductions while facilitating greater agility.
Telework has been called a “quiet revolution,” but it’s clear it won’t remain quiet much longer.