From The Experts: Telecommuting — Getting To Work Whatever The Weather

Posted By on February 1, 2017

Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a continuing series from Valley and regional professionals offering tips on their trade. Do you have an area of expertise that you’d like to share with our readership? The range of topics is essentially endless, whether it be home improvement or automotive, or even cooking or sewing. E-mail joey@carsonvalleytimes.com if you are interested.

by Kate Cunningham, E Squared C · 4 min read

MINDEN, Nev. — Last month, the Carson River breached its banks, crossed a major highway, and transformed commutes up and down the Carson Valley from Reno to Minden, turning a twenty- or thirty-minute scenic drive into a three- or four-hour ordeal. Then, a series of winter storms dropped over ten feet of snow in parts of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Emergency officials advised residents in both areas to shelter in place to avoid the flood or the blizzard or — for some who live in the valley and work in the basin (or vice versa) — both.

Telecommuting can take the bite out of a blizzard by enabling work from anywhere — in both fair and foul weather.

Today’s technology allows users to work at their own familiar desktop from anywhere, using all the applications, reaching all the documents, and working at the speeds they use every day at the office.

The New Virtual Desktop
While telecommuting tools such as cloned desktops that can be accessed remotely have been around for a while, the limitations that once made virtual office work clunky are now streamlined.

Yes, files now easily drag and drop to their proper home from the virtual desktop.

No more emailing that file to save it correctly at work. And by adding a VGPU (Virtual Graphic Processing Unit) speed increases exponentially so that 3D graphics become available remotely. No more waiting overnight for CAD drawings to render. With VGPU enhancement, overall performance speeds up, allowing the computer to keep up with the keyboard. No more pausing and losing a thought while the screen catches up.

Softphone Connections
A unified communications suite such as 3CX or Skype for Business facilitates collaboration from anywhere. The chat functions enable instant text messaging that simulates the quick check-ins that happen in a collaborative environment. A built-in conference tool hosts virtual meetings.

The status info indicates each employee’s status—as present, absent, in a meeting, or on a call. In addition, with these tools, calls forward from a desk phone to the virtual environment seamlessly.

360° Benefits
The virtual workspace benefits everyone in the office. With part-time telecommuting, businesses maintain productivity when the roads are closed, when employees travel on business, or when an employee needs to stay home for a service call. Building a business on a full-time telecommuting workforce significantly reduces or even eliminates the cost of maintaining an office. Paying a stipend to virtual employees to cover work-related costs at home (wifi access, etc.) translates to substantial savings when compared with the overhead required to keep the lights on and the rent paid in a brick and mortar workspace.

Employees working remotely save the personal costs of commuting—both time and dollars—and get the opportunity to work even when roads close or dryers get delivered. For many, job satisfaction goes up when work happens at home.

Telecommuting Challenges
When a national marketing firm recently transitioned its sales team from regional centers to home offices, the company reaped huge savings—but not without a cost. Some seasoned employees chose to look for work elsewhere. These successful sales employees missed the social interaction that comes with an office; working from home felt too isolated for them. Employee satisfaction doesn’t always increase in a virtual office.

For managers, red flags go up at the thought of employees working without direct supervision. Project management tools—often customized for a particular business process—facilitate productivity in or out of the office and can alleviate such concerns on both fronts. Chat applications, like the one embedded in the 3CX phone system, bring management right to the desktop, enabling spontaneous virtual check-ins. Chat tools benefit both a shared office environment where conversation disrupts neighbors and a virtual one where conversation can be as close as the keyboard.

Whatever the Whether
Whether part-time or full-time, employee or boss, telecommuting brings flexibility and cost savings to all the team—whatever the weather. To enable excellent remote access for your business needs, contact Seth Griffin, General Manager, E Squared C at sgriffin@esquaredc.com or visit http://esquaredc.com.

E Squared C, based in Minden, Reno and  South Lake Tahoe, offers a variety of computing solutions. Learn more at esquaredc.com