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Physical infrastructure

Allowing your employees to work from home or other remote locations requires you to develop policies and procedures to manage issues of physical infrastructure.  Physical infrastructure refers to the design of offices and workspaces. In terms of physical infrastructure you will need to consider:

    • the potential to redesign your main office, such as moving to an activity-based organisation (where the office design is organised around activities rather than roles), and this can capture savings on real estate (rent) and utilities.

    • the requirements you will have for the home-office set up for your employees who telework from home

    • the potential advantage of using telework hubs in regionally-based 'smart work centres', (typically, for larger organisations)


Home office set-up for teleworkers
- The home office set-up for the teleworker needs to ensure a productive working environment that is ergonomically safe and provides security for electronic and paper documents.

Technological infrastructure

Technology is information and communication tools and devices. The key technologies required for establishing an effective Remote Workspace, whether it's at home or in a Smart Work Centre, include three broad elements:

Connectivity technologies for enablement

Collaboration technologies for productivity and effectiveness

Workplace
features to provide a professional working environment

Picture of a man using a computer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connectivity

Broadband Connectivity – Teleworking doesn't require a specific type of broadband service. Wireless (e.g. 3G), or fixed (e.g. HFC cable, DSL, NBN) are all viable as long as they can provide sufficient speed (Mbps) and reliability.

Secure Access – Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) establish a secure, authenticated and encrypted link from the teleworker, across the Internet and into a VPN Concentrator located as a gateway to their employer's internal network.

Applications – While the mix of applications will vary from business to business, three broad application delivery models exist for teleworkers; local desktop, virtual desktop and Cloud services.

Computing Mobility – Teleworkers inherently develop a sense of location independence as a result of working across an office and their remote workspace. Mobility is an essential aspect and must be reflected in the computing approach.

Funding – For many employers, the accepted practice of employers providing computers to their staff as business tools extends to teleworking. Bring your own Device (BYOD), however, is emerging as an alternative.

Office Wi-Fi – a Mobile Computing approach needs to be supported by an easy way for teleworkers to connect when they move between workspaces and offices. Wireless networks (Wi-Fi) provide this flexibility by allowing staff to easily connect to the network from anywhere they can open their computer and without the need for cables. These networks need also to be secured with at least a password for access.

Providing platforms for collaboration between staff is a telework must-have for productivity and effectiveness.

Collaboration

Voice & Conferencing

    • home phone (basic starting point)
    • mobile phones provide an alternative
    • VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)

Video Conferencing - Video conferencing has come of age over the last several years, driven by the reduction in the cost of network bandwidth and the introduction of high definition technologies.

Presence - Presence is a status indicator that conveys to co-workers a willingness and ability to communicate, that the teleworker is "on-line" e.g., Skype, Google Hangouts, What's App etc.

Messaging - Messaging is a valuable contributor to a teleworker's collaborative potential. This is achieved by using email, voicemail and instant messaging and needs to be part of a whole-of-organisation enablement program to be truly useful.
Sharing & Knowledge Tools - Access to, and sharing of knowledge become significant requirements for teleworkers once they remove themselves from the physical office, as does the ability to share, review and jointly discuss documents.

Workplace Environment

Beyond technology, there is additional infrastructure and programs that may be appropriate to consider as part of teleworker enablement:

    • Installation, Configuration & Support – Teleworkers cannot be assumed to be technically literate and capable of self-installing the technologies associated with enabling their Remote Workspace. Any technologies deployed need to come with on-site installation, end-user familiarisation training and support

    • Change Leadership – modifying where and how an organisation's staff work is a disruptive change that technology alone cannot address.

Note: These are the most common considerations, but dependant on the type of organisation, further technologies may include desktop sharing, expertise engines, and enterprise social tools.

 

    

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