Mobile Teleworkers Phone It In With WiFi, Cells And Broadband; Numbers Rising
With cell phones, broadband at home, WiFi, virtual private networks and instant messaging employees can work from anywhere – home, client office, commuter train, coffee shop and airport. This article explores the new growth in telework. While percentage growth in the overall market is only in the low single digits, the growth of telework among top technology companies –Sun Microsystems, IBM and Cisco Systems to name a few – has been phenomenal.
Sun Microsystems, for example, has an iWork mobile-work program that has grown to include 13,900 of its employees [43% of its workforce] and 115 flexible office locations worldwide where mobile workers can hotdesk or simply check in. Sun’s real estate savings are nearly $70 million a year and the company is even happier at the increases in employee satisfaction and productivity.
The key to their success is in their well-developed telework program and the policies, procedures and planning that sustain it. Among the components noted here are initial employee surveys to determine if remote work is suitable for the person and appropriate to their line of work as well as the careful process of setting goals and measuring performance and productivity. This type of program gives Sun and other cutting-edge companies a distinct advantage over the majority of organizations where telecommuting happens unofficially and human resource policies and programs have not caught up with workplace reality.
Source: Carolyn Said, Seattle Post-Intelligencer; Aug 1, 2005