by Vincent Toesca
Where were you three weeks ago, on August 3, 2009? If you are a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is a chance you were at home – working.
In June 2009, Governor Tim Kaine issued an executive order to “green” Virginia, with an aim to increase efficiency in state government operations and save the energy of commuting. One of the initiatives was to encourage individuals and organizations to work from home or a remote location on a statewide Telework Day (Monday, August 3, 2009). While symbolic, this event may have proved a powerful catalyst to drive more pervasive telework adoption across Virginia.
According the Telework Trendlines™ 2009 report issued by WorldatWork, the number of U.S. employees who worked remotely at least one day per month increased 39 percent over the past two years, from approximately 12.4 million in 2006 to 17.2 million in 2008. The sum of all teleworkers – employees, contractors and business owners – has risen 17 percent from 28.7 million in 2006 to 33.7 million in 2008.
Making Everyone Win
In Virginia and beyond, telework is a win-win-win opportunity for public and private organizations, their employees, and the environment.
By reducing commuting or discretionary travels, telework supports the reduction of car traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigates road and air congestion. But it is also a powerful way of increasing operational efficiency. Organizations can save on costly real-estate and office space. They benefit from a highly distributed and cost-effective backup infrastructure (also referred to as “COOP” or “Continuity of Operations”) that can help them keep “business as usual” in case of disruptions, such as a weather event or a flu outbreak.
Telework also supports the recruitment and retention of personnel who may not have joined the organization otherwise. For example, the US Patent and Trademark Office, a Connect Pro customer, has found that they could hire skilled examining attorneys who might not be able or willing to relocate to the Washington, DC area; from geographically constrained, their pool of talent has become truly nationwide.
Finally telework strategies play a critical role in maintaining an upbeat work environment and sustaining employee morale by enabling a positive work/life balance and sparing individual the stress and costs of commuting. No wonder that Governor Kaine described telework as a “family-friendly, business-friendly public policy”.
Providing Easy-To-Use Tools
To demonstrate that work is “something you do, not just a place you go”, it is vital to enable employees to be highly productive from their home, from their car or from a customer’s place of business. They must be granted continuous, on-demand and secure access to the informational resources of the organization. Enterprise collaboration tools, such as Connect Pro for web conferencing, become instrumental in this distributed environment.
Web conferencing is critical to maintain cohesion among distant employees, facilitate the accomplishment of cross-organizational projects and ensure the continuity of business relationships with customers and partners.
While many options exist to meet this need, they are not equally efficient. Many web conferencing solutions from large software vendors look appealing and “well-integrated” on paper; others from lesser-known vendors seem robust enough and surely cost-effective. However when you add up the time needed to deploy their multiple components, the burden of training users and their failures (measured in terms of technical problems or lagging adoption), their cost of opportunity outweighs their benefits.
At Adobe, we believe that ease of use is the #1 factor for end-users and buyers in IT and LOBs. Removing technicalities and downloads is critical to stronger adoption, usage and productivity gains.
Finally, with telework, organizations’ sensitive information is exchanged among more endpoints, more widely distributed in space. Beyond the security of the connections, it is vital to select tools that ensure the integrity of data and comply with internal policies
Choosing a Ubiquitous Platform for Universal, Secure Access
Because it is built on the Adobe Flash platform, Connect Pro offers both instant access and rich experience to all users, across platforms and operating systems. Additionally, it supplies unique compliance and control features so that administrators can regulate the webconferencing usage and ensure adherence to industry and governance regulations.
Companies can also choose among a SaaS-based service hosted by Adobe or an on-premise setup that keeps the system and its data under their full supervision.
A few months ago, I published a tutorial on how to “Work Remotely with Connect Pro” on our Connect Pro User Community website. For those of you willing to institute flexible work arrangements, I hope this guide will give insightful tips and show why Connect Pro is the right technology to enable your telework environment.
As illustrated by our friends in Virginia, it has now become easier to be a good citizen and a productive employee.