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Set Up Employees For Telecommuting Success

According to a recent survey, most SMBs are prepared to let employees work from home. Unfortunately, the employees themselves often see the matter differently.
According to a recent survey, most SMBs are prepared to let employees work from home. Unfortunately, the employees themselves often see the matter differently.Last November, research firm oneDrum polled 606 employees and 610 employers, all from UK-based companies with fewer than 250 employees. It found that more than 70 percent of SMBs give at least some employees the option of working from home -- yet more than 60 percent of the employees surveyed said they never do so.

The two biggest obstacles to telecommuting: "accessing documents outside the office and not having the necessary technology in place."

Not surprisingly, over 80 percent of the employees surveyed said they "could be more productive when working from home." Even discounting those who equate "naptime" with "productivity," however, quite a few of these workers probably could benefit occasionally from a work environment with fewer built-in distractions.

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So, employers are willing at least to experiment with telecommute programs. Employees think working from home can make them more productive, at least in some cases. Both groups require access to the right technology to bridge this gap.

Fortunately, the technology is available, and it is extremely cost-effective. If your SMB is serious about exploring the benefits of telecommuting, start by assessing the tools -- including remote access solutions, cloud-based applications, online storage, and hosted versions of existing client-server apps -- your employees will need to work productively.