Successful Home Offices Need the Right Management System and IT Infrastructure

Posted by Stefanie Kober Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:26:00 GMT



In today’s culture, flexible work is quickly becoming the norm. This type of working arrangement is preferred by workers, with 72% of employees stating that flexible work arrangements causes them to choose one job over another *.

Ideally, a company or organization has a single performance appraisal for all employees, independent of where they are located. This implies that the basis for evaluation is the same amongst all workers, without any differentiation between on-site and remote workers.

Management by Objectives
In the 1950s, Peter Drucker invented the concept of “management by objectives” (MBO), whereby he explained that if the overall goals are to be achieved, each job in the company must contribute to the objectives of the whole organization. Workers are evaluated based on performance, rather than their physical location. This change in the style of leadership and corporate infrastructure leads to an increase in productivity, as the sheer physical presence is no longer defined as a positive accomplishment. It also clarifies the type of performance the organization requires of the employees, while simultaneously accentuating and rewarding good performance. Entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson states that the most important thing for remote work to succeed is creating a culture where the work itself matters.

Teleworking Programs Best Practices
Although employees are in different places, the work required remains the same. Nonetheless, remote working requires redesigning business processes, employing alternative technologies, and changes in managerial operations and communications.

Managing Remote Workers
An effective remote manager is no different than one who manages employees on-site; clear objectives and rules should be established, and the manager should know his or her employees. It is necessary that a performance evaluation process focuses on defining and tracking goals, achieving results, building leadership effectiveness, and driving employee engagement.

When managing home offices, management by objectives is advisable, as the work outcome is rewarded, rather than simply monitoring the employees’ activities via direct observation.

IT Infrastructure
For a successful teleworking program, data needs to be stored digitally, such that it can be accessed and processed virtually from anywhere. In addition to going paperless, the usage of mobile devices such as laptops enables people to work from wherever they are.

Therefore, apart from an adequate management system, remote working requires implementation of the right IT infrastructure. In order to accomplish this, the following major components of user-access management must be analyzed:
 

  • Users — defining the authorized users within and outside the organization
  • Assets — defining what needs to be protected by the organization and
  • Privileges — delineating which users require access to particular assets, and to what extent


Technology tools enable remotely located employees to access all (or selected amounts) of the company’s resources and software, such as applications, data and e-mail. Employees in home offices are connected via a networking infrastructure, enabling a company with a distributed workforce to securely connect its workers and teams; they also have the ability to share files securely and access the company’s databases, file sharing and telecommunications. This allows for:
 

  • Web-based remote access
  • Safe and secure mobile device connection to enterprise data and 
  • Wireless networks within company facilities


Deployment of Collaborative Technologies

High quality communication is of vital importance, particularly with remote workers. Affordable software-based collaborative tools increase productivity and effectiveness. These include:

 


Remote Access Choices
Remote access is rapidly becoming the preferred connectivity method for various business roles using several types of company or employee-owned devices. So a remote access solution must be flexible, secure and compatible with the anytime/anywhere resource access model and, ideally, no data is saved locally on the end device at any time. Thus, in the event that the device is lost or stolen, problems of data falling in the wrong hands are avoided.

Technological hurdles need no longer be a barrier to implementing work from home policies, which is also made more attractive for enterprises by the shift from managing employee presence to managing employee output/performance. This shift from central-office-centric work, to more flexible home-office work, is expected to continue to increase.

If you would like to find out more about home offices and best practices for remote access solutions, and also learn more about comprehensive company resource protection, please download this free eBook, Home Offices Made Easy.


Sources:
*The Edge Report - Robert Half International Survey, 2008, as cited by Jason Gregg, Tell Your Staff to Go home! The Complete Guide to Telecommuting: books.google.com/books?isbn=1619793628


Author: Hazel Farrugia
 

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