The power of IP
Business is in the process of really challenging the old conventions of employment. It used to be you were hired by a company, required to come into the office on a daily basis, complete your work and go home. For an increasing number of companies that is no longer a requirement. More and more firms are discovering the advantage to having a mobile workforce.
The emergence of high speed Internet to most Canadian homes and improved technology has almost made a desk in your workplace redundant. Any accountant will tell you that redundancy can lead to increased costs and decreased efficiency but as I am not an accountant I will not provide you the underlying dollar costs of such an argument. That being said let’s examine some of the technologies firms are now leveraging technology to decrease overhead costs.
Voice over IP technology
The evolution of VoIP technology has really changed how business is conducted. You can now take your extension with you anywhere in the world where there is high speed Internet. Whether you are at home, at a remote site or even while at the coffee shop down the street which offers free WIFI. You can (Internet permitting) be connected to your business telephone network anywhere, anytime.
VPN’s are commonplace for many places however they are often not used. The reasons for this are often misconceptions about the technology, improper provisioning (meaning your Internet pipe simply is not large enough to support the traffic) or failure to train staff on how to use VPN. A good Internet connection, proper training and good technology can make VPN an invaluable tool for your business. Will it be as fast as sitting on the local area network? No. If you however aren’t a graphic designer or architect drafting massive plans chances are that it will work just fine for you.
One of the common fears amongst managers and business owners is a breakdown in communication between staff members. This could have been a big problem a few years ago however free video conferencing tools such as Skype has made one on one and group communication easy and cost effective. All you need is a $30 webcam, $10 microphone, a basic computer and high speed Internet. With those low cost items which you may have already and a little training you are ready to video conference!
Are these technologies perfect? No. Is there always a concern that having your staff work from home rather than being under your watchful eye could lead to slacking off and failure to work? Yes. If however someone wants to slack off won’t they find a way whether in the office or at home? Most often times yes.
I am not saying that these technologies are for everyone because they are not. That is for you to decide. What can make the argument very compelling is the cost savings from eliminating overhead. If you have