Whether you have a remote workforce, independent contractors, or just employees who want to stay home a few days a week, we now live in a world where the “office” is not necessarily inside an office. Employees seem to love this but for management it creates a whole new set of headaches.
The biggest question facing businesses considering a move to a more virtualized office experience is whether employees working remotely have access to everything they’d have in the actual office. How can businesses make a transition to an increasingly remote workforce smoothly, without losing?
1. Virtual desktops
As businesses dip their toes into the virtual office space, the first policy is often allowing employees to work from home some of the time. Employees love this, but the first headache is often a lack of access to the same resources found inside the office.
An actual office has significant advantages when it comes to things like purchasing computers, sharing files, and managing an IT infrastructure or servers. Viruses, for example, can be controlled and contained inside an office environment when under the watchful eyes of IT professionals. With employees using their own devices, with their own lax security standards working from home—not so safe. In addition, the specialized software your business uses has already been licensed for the machines you own, not for employees’ own devices.
There is a solution, and that’s to make sure your physical “office” is available everywhere, by making sure that employees can have their native office desktop experience from anywhere. The best way to accomplish this is with virtual desktop software, which gives remote employees full access to their desktop computers and those computing environments from the comfort of their own homes, coffee shops, and even while on airplanes that offer Wi-Fi.
2. Video conferencing
One of the biggest problems businesses with remote workforces face is managing the “people” element. While your remote workforce might be filled with highly talented, self-motivated, hard-working individuals, it never really feels like you’re all part of the same company and working together if you never get to actually SEE each other! Video conferencing solutions bring a personal element to exchanges otherwise taking place over email or more traditional conference calls. Even if you don’t have a physical office or haven’t gotten around to planning yearly company retreats yet, there’s no reason you can’t leverage videoconferencing to bring your workforce together while saving on travel costs.
3. Cloud storage
The other factor to consider is that there are situations where it’s not possible to run an entire virtual desktop. Remote employees may have limited online access, or they may want to be able to do more from their smartphones or tablets, which typically aren’t great platforms for virtual desktop software. These employees can benefit from a comprehensive cloud storage solution, which makes the same set of files they need to get their work done available everywhere: in the actual office, on the virtual desktop, and on their phones, smartphones, or on whatever devices come next.
What about your office? Is there still an actual “office” or have you embraced the increasingly mobile future? If you’re with a business looking to expand with more remote workers, what problems are you having? Leave a question or comment below, and I’ll be sure to respond!
Mario Armstrong, Digital Lifestyle Expert, is an Emmy Award winning, tech commentator for the TODAY show, CNN, HLN and Fuse. An entrepreneur by nature, Mario made his passion his career by quitting his day job and founding Mario Armstrong Media. Follow Mario at @MarioArmstrong. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.