Remote working all the rage

Remote or home workers are becoming an integral part of a company's workforce, according to a survey of 224 managers in Australia and New Zealand. However, concerns remain about the impact of the remote workforce on effective team-building, productivity, and network security.

The survey of management views on remote working, conducted by InsightExpress for SonicWall, found that more than half of the respondents believed that offering their employees the ability to work remotely was a competitive necessity, or at least a motivating perk for employees.

  • Half (50.4 per cent) of the respondents surveyed reported that more than 20 per cent of their company's employees worked remotely;
  • The majority (74.8 per cent) of the polled managers had a remote worker or home worker policy in place;
  • Employee motivation (78.3 per cent) and availability and cost of office space (43.8 per cent) were the main reasons for managers to implement or recommend a remote worker policy;
  • 66.8 per cent of the respondents noted an increase in requests to work from home in the past year.
Despite the growing support for offsite working in Australia and New Zealand, managers identified several concerns unique to managing a remote work force. The top three anxieties -- each reported by more than 40 per cent of respondents -- included:
  • Challenges to building strong teams, with 47.3 per cent per cent believing remote workers were missing out on an aspect of the job by not being in the office;
  • Worry over whether remote workers will remain productive, in spite of the fact that more managers (66 per cent) believed remote workers were equally or more productive;
  • Concerns about potential network security issues and breaches resulting from remote access.
Most of the polled managers (66.7 per cent ) preferred their remote workers to work from home, while a hotel business centre (55.1 per cent) and "anywhere there is an Internet connection" (42.4 per cent) scored high on the preference list.

Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report

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