There’s no question about it: telecommuting is here to stay. According to statistics from the US Census Bureau, 45% of American workers currently hold a job that’s compatible with working from home at least part of the time. As an employer, there are many benefits to hiring remote workers, or at least allowing your current employees to work from home. However, there are challenges that go along with those benefits. In this article we’ll look at the costs and limitations of telecommuting as well as strategies on how to overcome those limitations.
It Can be Difficult to Oversee Employees
Directly supervising telecommuters is simply not possible. While you can watch their productivity output, ensure they’re online and available during their normal working hours, and call to check in with them, you won’t have the ability to immediately check on their progress. The savvy employer will have to get creative to keep an eye on remote workers.
The Risk of Diminished Productivity
Employees who aren’t used to remotely working can find it challenging. They may have family distractions, they may not have a workspace that’s conducive to working efficiently, or they may simply find it difficult to stay focused.
Cyber Security Concerns
Extra precautions must be taken to ensure that telecommuters have adequate security measures in place. This may include establishing a virtual private network (VPN), allowing remote access to your companies network. You may also wish to conduct periodic password resets, and using Cloud-based file sharing programs that include enhanced security features.
Solitude Can Be Its Own Problem
Most busy workers have wished at one time or another that they could just have the entire office to themselves. They get that—in spades—when they work from home. The problem is that isolation can have its own troubles. Employees can feel distant, they can feel as though they’re not in tune with others in the office, and this can lead to lack of morale, erosion of company culture, and loss of teamwork.
Possible Liability Issues
It’s true that remote workers are not exactly a new thing, but it’s also true that they’re new enough that the liability issues surrounding telecommuting are not yet completely set in stone. What if an employee injures themselves in their home office? Is the employer at fault? Or does the employee’s insurance cover it? Who is responsible for the work equipment kept in a remote worker’s office? Companies should consult with their legal counsel before moving forward with work-at-home employees.
The Bottom Line: Should Your Company Allow Remote Working?
With this long list of possible disadvantages to your company, you may assume that mobile workers are not the way to go. The reality is that the benefits can far outweigh the possible drawbacks, and there are solutions to each and every drawback. For example, the opportunity for employees to improve productivity, work from home when they are ill preventing sickness spreading around the office, and better work/life balance for employees. One of the simplest solutions to all of these issues is working from home with the aid of document management software (DMS).
Understanding DMS Solutions and Their Benefits
Document management software comes with many features, benefits, and services, which provide a way for your employees to stay organized, in touch, and compliant from anywhere. Some of the most popular features of eFileCabinets DMS include:
- eSignature verification: Your employees don’t have to be sitting in front of a client, vendor, or co-worker to get an official signature. DMS solutions allow them to request signatures and sign their own files and documents electronically. They can then automatically receive and file them in the appropriate folder. These legally binding signatures have bank-level security and make the signing process easy and instantaneous from anywhere.
- Compliance tools: Many legal concerns related to working remotely can be alleviated by working within a document management system framework. eFileCabinet offers document controls which include compliance with a wide range of regulatory requirements: HIPAA, FINRA, and the SEC.
- File sharing: File-sharing services found in eFileCabinet’s SecureDrawer allow anyone to upload files, pictures, folders, etc. as well as access and download them.
- Role-based permissions: Of course it’s nice to share files with co-workers, clients, and colleagues, but steps must be taken to also prevent them from being accessable by unauthorized individuals. That’s why role-based user permissions are so essential. Role basaed permissions can be assigned to user profiles, folders, drawers, and cabinets to keep confidential information in the right hands.
- Automatic File Sync: If your employees only work from home part of the time, they can use their DMS to work from home and their files will automatically update on their office account too. This helps keep things centralized and organized, and it prevents disaster if a home computer crashes.
- Useful mobile apps: Of course employees who work from home often work many places besides their home. For those who are on the go, mobile apps are one of the best DMS features. Uploading new files, receipts, signatures, etc. is as simple as taking a photo with a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device, and files can be easily downloaded onto a smartphone so long as there is a Wi-Fi connection.
Though there are many potential challenges to allowing mobile workers, there are just as many DMS solutions that make it well worth it for companies who want access to the best talent and lower overhead costs. Fill out the form on this page to see a 15-minute demo of eFileCabienet products and how they can help your organization be more mobile and connected.