Can your organisation realistically support homeworking?

Last week, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced that he wants as many people as possible working from home during the 2012 Olympic Games to avoid potential travel chaos in the capital and stress points on the rail network.

With the Olympics a year away, businesses need to look now at their support of network infrastructure and applications, in order to allow workers full accessibility and mobility via their mobile device or when working remotely.

Giving employees the option to work from home can be a complicated process: as employees move further and further away from the office, they increasingly gain less and less access to applications via their mobile device; in addition, there’s also the inevitable loss of employee productivity because of this lack of access to office-based applications, as well as lost business and delayed decisions.

Enabling access to all applications on a mobile device regardless of employee requirements can be a costly process. But if companies determine exactly which applications are needed by each individual employee, then enabling access becomes a more tailored, streamlined and workable solution.

In order to do so, companies need to assess each employee’s profile, and the needs of each individual in order to efficiently decide which applications should be provided.

By ensuring that the right application is delivered to the right profile on the right mobile device, remote working capabilities can be maximised in the most cost-efficient way. To be really effective, remote working capabilities should always include:

1. Collaboration – To share audio, video and data across networks to maintain productivity when employees are unable to work in the office, to minimise travel requirements and to respond to the needs of voluntary isolation

2. Unified communications – To keep businesses connected everywhere, integrating corporate telephony, instant messaging (IM), and video across private and public networks

3. Wireless home office – To enable employees to recreate their office resources and applications at home including unified communications over VPNs with secure access

Mobility is redefining the workplace as the borders between personal and professional, home and office, device and application disappear, so these three requirements should form the cornerstone of a business’s IT infrastructure to support flexibility and mobility – and not just during a traffic crisis!

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Manish Sablok is Head of Marketing for Central North and East (CNE) Europe at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Manish has been at Alcatel-Lucent for 8 years, and before his appointment for the new Enterprise group he was Solutions Marketing Director for Unified Communications (UC) with a worldwide remit. Manish has a strong background in communications infrastructure, having been at Avaya for 5 years as Product Marketing Manager for South Asia and before that was Global Account and Channel Sales Manager at Siemens.