Establish a Telecommuting Policy

More than 25% of small businesses use telecommuting. And while there are clear benefits to telecommuting, it’s not necessarily right for every business. If you are thinking of establishing a telecommuting policy for your business, you should consider the following questions:

1. Does telecommuting help you achieve your operational business goals? Telecommuting can help reduce operational costs and improve employee productivity. Additionally, it allows businesses to expand employee searches beyond immediate geographical confines to find the most appropriate set of skills for each job.

2. Does telecommuting fit into your corporate values? Telecommuting can be used to help employees achieve work-life balance and, in some studies, even improves employee health by reducing the commuting-related stresses. For some businesses, it is also a way to reduce their carbon footprint.

3. Do you have the infrastructure to support telecommuters? For telecommuting to be successful, employees need access to the applications and files that are critical to their jobs. And they need access that mimics their experience in the office. Without the ability to provide that rapid access, the telecommuting experience will be unpleasant for employees. Additionally, businesses need to be able to protect their telecommuting employees from Web-based threats when they are outside the secured corporate network.

By answering the above questions, you will have a solid understanding of the benefits telecommuting could bring and whether it makes sense for your business.

Dave Asprey Vice-President for Technology Blue Coat Systems Sunnyvale, Calif.

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