In the US, the number of people working from home rose by 73 percent from 2005 to 2011, reaching a total of over 3 million people. By allowing employees to work remotely, companies are able to hire staff without having to expand their office space or invest in additional equipment, and employees are able to have a more flexible schedule and eliminate time spent on commuting. As employers become more comfortable with the concept of teleworking and adjusting to the new work style, the amount of people working from home will only continue to rise.
To make sure remote working is advantageous, rather than a disadvantage, it is important to make sure employees are able to remain productive and collaborate with coworkers as if they were in the office. This possible can be made by thankfully a range of software solutions that are available.
For years, Skype, now owned by Microsoft, has been the communication tool of choice for remote workers. Skype users can enjoy both voice and video calls for free, while calls to landlines and mobiles are offered at competitive prices without the requirement to pay for line rental. Users of Skype can set up an "online number" that allows people to call them on a standard phone line, unaware that the number is a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) one. "Go to Meeting" is an enterprise grade VoIP alternative that is more business focused, offering desktop sharing, tools to draw or highlight items, as well as the ability to hold both private and public chats.
The document sharing application Huddle has been specifically designed to tackle the difficulties that come with having a globally dispersed team. It can be difficult to keep track of who's working on what without being able to walk around the office to keep an eye on people. Huddle is used by 90,000 businesses worldwide to share files, assign tasks, and streamline workflows. Having a central document sharing and collaboration application like Huddle could be beneficial to all employees working in the same office.
Both Dropbox and Google Drive offer free storage up to a certain capacity for sharing documents. Remote-based employees can use personal files for backup, as well as for productivity, ensuring they have the most current document when they work. By utilizing Dropbox or Google Drive, various files can be centrally stored so that multiple users can work on them simultaneously, instead of having them stored on people's individual hard drives and floating around via email.
Many employers fear the potential loss of control or visibility over what their remote employees are doing, which is why Employee Monitoring Software exists. Many are turning to employee monitoring software to minimize risks and promote productivity, hence its growing popularity. Every keystroke, website visit, download, and instant message can be recorded and tracked literally. Without the risk of getting a virtual slap on the wrist from their bosses, home based workers won't have to worry about wasting time on YouTube or looking at wedding photos on Facebook. Employee monitoring software can provide businesses with the reassurance they need to implement remote working safely and securely, even though some home based workers may resent having their boss looking over their shoulder in this way.
It is anticipated that working from home will be a trend that continues in the years to come. By using these productivity tools, remote employees can stay connected and collaborate with their office-based colleagues, thus ensuring that they can still contribute to their business's success as if they were in the same room.