Friday, 22nd March 2019

How Can Technology Support Remote Working?

More people now work from home - whether as employees or as contractors providing services to businesses or individuals - as the technology to enable remote working improves and more organizations embrace the idea of people working away from a physical business premises. By Patrick Vernon, technology writer.

Ease of communication helps both employees and contractors in that it saves the time and expense of traveling to and from a workplace, and employers benefit as they don’t have to invest in expanding office space to accommodate staff yet are able to increase their workforce. It also enables them to benefit from people with specific skills even if they’re many miles away.

So many previously laborious and time consuming office tasks such as payroll and general accounting benefit from modern software and can potentially be undertaken by those working away from the company’s physical base.

How tech is supporting remote working:

Connectivity

High speed broadband, and especially fast mobile data such as 3 and 4G, has meant not only can remote workers easily be in contact with their employer or client, but faster speeds such as 5G (a considerable jump over even 4G in terms of capability) will enable ascpects such as video conferencing and file sharing to expand their scope.

Virtual and augmented reality will take advantage of faster connectivity to make conferencing and contact with remote workers even more effective.

Scheduling tech

Online schedulers capable of linking with the calendars of remote workers make organizing meetings and conferences far more efficient than trying to herd everyone involved through a volley of email messages.

This is especially beneficial in settings where people are scattered across different time zones.

Document management facilities

The cloud has made a huge difference to the way companies work; storing documents in a way that’s accessible to certain remote workers and others means it’s easy to disseminate information to people wherever they are.

It’s easy enough to make them secure - so only those entitled to view the contents can gain access - and cross platform formats mean people can work on documents at, say, their laptop and switch to their smartphone or tablet if needs be.

Google Docs is a good example of the way documents can be shared and, if necessary, edited by multiple people anywhere.

Project management facilities

The way people can work together on a project wherever they’re based and the ability to keep track of tasks and allocate them to the relevant personnel has revolutionized remote working.

Project management tools such as Trello have proved very popular and bring efficient completion of projects within the reach of businesses of all sizes.

Remote help desks

Technologies such as Zendesk allow businesses to offer full help desk facilities, including telephone contact, without having to set up a physical contact centre.

Depending on the way the ‘parent’ company organizes things, it also helps the remote worker in that they can work in customer contact from home and maybe even specific hours that suit them and the company they work for.

Remote working is very popular

A majority of people would like to work remotely, at least part of the time if they could, with some saying they’d prefer it to a pay rise.

The increase in remote working is, in itself, leading technical advances as tech evolves to meet this business trend. For example, the cloud has increased the number of collaboration tools such as sharable documents as discussed above.

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