Written by Beth Hildreth on July 4, 2013
Categories: Industry Articles

Back in the day when your employee asked you if he could be working from home, you had to do some heavy contemplation before revealing your answer. After all, you had to worry about how your employee would communicate in real-time all the way on the West Coast, how he would continue to learn about the company’s culture and core value proposition 3,000 miles away, and how your in-house team would collaborate seamlessly with a remote worker.

But fast forward to today’s 21st century business model and those fears are greatly alleviated due to the rise in collaborative enterprise services such as web conferencing, video chat, instant message and screen sharing.

In fact, a recent survey issued by UCi2i, a global video conferencing managed services provider, found that working at home can actually bolster productivity and enhance overall performance. The company’s latest research found that companies actually lose 24 days a year of extra working hours by not permitting their employees to work from home. Because the home environment provides for flexible working conditions, employees are actually more apt to work overtime at home as opposed to when they are at the office, oftentimes staring at the clock.

So why aren’t more companies embracing the work at home movement? Perhaps it’s because some feel that if they grant certain employees that right, they are essentially privileging them with the ability to “cheat the system.” The report found that one in four offices believe that remote workers are not actually working. Moreover, 84 percent of those surveyed expressed concern that they would not be able to communicate as seamlessly with out of office workers.

However, thanks to advances in enterprise communications and the increasing use of collaboration tools, the antithesis is actually true. Today’s businesses have a plethora of unified communications solutions at their disposal from video and web conferencing to call forwarding to audio conferencing.

One of the chief benefits afforded by virtual meeting applications, for example, includes its ability for both your in-house team and remote workers to get the same experience out of company meetings. Instead of holding critical business meetings and having your remote worker just dial in via phone, you can hold a web session and allow your team member to view the slide decks, learn from the facial expressions in the room and interact in real-time with the presentation. This individual will experience the entire, rich experience of the meeting, even while he or she is miles away.

Moreover, you can augment collaboration as the technology allows for the sharing and manipulating of almost all documents and programs. Instead of sending documents back and forth via email countless times for approval, hold a virtual meeting with your remote worker so that you can workshop documents in real-time.

And with cost always being top of mind for CEOs and managers, one of the main advantages of cloud collaboration tools is that you only need an Internet connection to participate. Just make sure your employee has a reliable Internet connection and he or she can be up and running instantaneously, communicating with your team just as he or she would on premise. You also reduce your traveling budget as that individual seldom has to make the trip come to the office for a face-to-face meeting.

With 53 percent of senior managers and CEOs searching for ways to increase their remote worker capabilities, and 24 days of unused working time potentially left on the table, now is the time to do some digging to figure out how web conferencing can become the next integral member of your team.