January 25, 2011

Unleashing the Hidden Productivity of Your Mid Size Business

  • Unified Communications: A Key Component of your Telework Program
  • Chuck Wilsker, President & CEO, The Telework Coalition
  • On behalf of Avaya
For medium sized businesses, the phenomenon that began as telecommuting and evolved into telework is now best described as distributed work, mobile work, or "just work". The key distinction here is that telework is accomplished independent of location: from home, a hotel, a client's office, the train, an airport, a car, or anywhere away from one's primary place of employment. Many workers who fit in this category work from many locations and are frequently categorized as mobile workers.

In this paper, we'll look at this 'new way of working', how and why it started, its development and evolution, where it is today, where it's going, problems and issues that need to be addressed, and why it's being adopted by an ever growing number of employers, including small and medium sized businesses and large enterprises, in both the private and public sectors. Our economy, global environment, and society in general, are in need of the benefits derived from telework, and yet its importance is still misunderstood within organizations worldwide.

Herein we will be specifically looking at the needs of medium sized businesses and how the development and implementation of a well thought out telework program will help increase profits, lower overhead, and retain key employees. A medium sized business will approach this differently from both smaller and larger ones. Many of the decisions will be made by the organization's executives and possibly a head of IT and/or HR rather than a committee formed by many department heads and numerous mid-level managers. The advantage to you is that once you make the decision to move ahead the time needed to implement can be short as will the time before you see realization of the benefits. Additionally, the chances are good that you may have a few employees who occasionally work off site now either from home or when travelling and unknowingly have started the telework process without identifying it as such.

The means that enable and facilitate the 'new ways of working' are the advances in technologies that have madetelework easier and more cost effective. Also, many organizations that have carefully crafted and developed telework programs (either on their own or with the assistance of consultants) are willing to share their Policies, Practices, and Procedures (P³'s), the lack of which has been a major impediment to telework's comprehensive integration and the necessary change management.

Technology is, in fact, the 'mature enabler' that, when coupled with supporting "Information Age" theories and practices, creates high-performance work environments for success in the evolving global economy.

The majority of medium businesses that have telework programs still do so on an ad hoc basis, and neglect the critical necessity of incorporating the P³'s mentioned above into a formalized program specifying the how, when, and why of teleworking, and the responsibilities of all involved. If you are going to make a commitment to have a program, do it the right way.

1 Comment

With a range of benefits from increased worker satisfaction/retention to "green" impact to savings on office space to availability of a skilled workforce to... It's difficult to overstate the importance of teleworking in today's business environment. And while some of the teleworking benefits have been well-established for a long time by larger companies with larger IT staffs to support telework, the economic benefits are at least as strong if not stronger for the "mid market" companies.

This paper provides an excellent overview of the challenges and benefits of teleworking, complete with some great "how-to" tips.

It also provides a great companion to the paper Productivity Success Factors for the Mid-Market

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