Inbox: The case for remote working

The current focus on working from home or in the office – and how that impacts productivity – is only one piece of bigger puzzle. The conversation should be about managing people working from anywhere, on any device; empowering employees with the culture, tools and resources required to enable rich, meaningful collaboration.
With technology advances, virtual teams are on the rise. It is not unusual to have an employee sitting in Auckland while the rest of her team is based in Sydney or Singapore.

Using technology to facilitate teamwork
There are numerous tools and technologies available to connect remote and onsite employees for greater productivity, including video conferencing, instant messaging, email, conference phones and web content sharing. Each of these brings greater connectivity allowing people to share information faster. Digital content including documents and spreadsheets can be worked on in real time, allowing virtual teams to collaborate and collectively agree next steps.
But it’s not only about having the right collaboration tools but about having the right company culture and policies that support and drive collaborative and productive working environment. This means embracing visual collaboration as part of culture and management approach and then providing the tools and resources needed to make it work.

Why New Zealand is embracing flexible working
The New Zealand Government supports flexible work environments and is currently reviewing legislation to extend flexible working rights to all New Zealanders. As part of this review, the Government found that work flexibility delivered positive business benefits, including improved retention and recruitment of staff, reduced staff turnover, and improved employee motivation and loyalty.
The roll-out of Ultra-Fast Broadband in New Zealand is also expected to boost growth in teleworking as technology improves and more people take advantage of the one minute commute – the time it takes to travel from the kitchen to their home office.
In 2012, Polycom conducted survey of 400 business decision makers throughout Europe and found that companies with flexible work programmes powered by visual collaboration solutions reported that participating employees were, on average, 39 percent more productive than others.
All of Polycom’s almost 4000 employees are equipped with tools like video conference room technology, desktop video, and mobile video apps. On average, Polycom conducts more than 1000 hours of face-to-face video calls every day between employees, partners, customers and vendors across geographies.

The power of human collaboration
Yahoo is right that the power of human collaboration cannot be underestimated, and face-to-face collaboration builds trust. However, there are plenty of tools that can help enhance collaboration, and the companies that embrace tools like video and web collaboration are reaping the rewards of greater productivity and satisfied employees.
In business environment that has evolved to include more flexible working, remote employees, and geographically dispersed teams, leaders need to focus on providing the culture, tools and resources that equip their teams for maximum productivity.

• For the white paper on ‘The Art of Teleworking’, visit www.polycom.com or http://tinyurl.com/d4ctucj M

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