Yahoo Aside, Telecommuting Solutions Vendors Happy to Offer Options
What started 20 years ago as a way for service members to connect with their families is now a suite of enterprise tools for fostering collaboration between employees, customers and partners. "iMeet is a cloud-based solution from PGi that lets people meet face-to-face online from anywhere, anytime, on any device," Sean O'Brien, executive vice president of strategy at PGi, told eWEEK. "It's a great productivity tool for today's modern workplace, where more people are mobile and working remotely than ever before."
Yahoo told its employees Feb. 22 that as of June, they all need to come in to the office and work together. The policy change—which Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and other company executives hope will encourage team building and innovation—aroused countless debates and opinions, from the supportive to the offended. The decision also offered a new platform for companies that facilitate remote working—or telecommuting—to speak up. These companies, as debates over the last few days pointed out, have research on their side. It's well documented that workers, when given the flexibility to work in the way they're most comfortable—whether choosing their location or the devices they use—are more productive. For example, a 10-month Stanford study of a billion-dollar Chinese call center found that employees who worked from home took shorter breaks, fewer sick days, worked more hours and, on average, saved the company nearly as much as their respective annual salaries. A January 2012 study that included decision makers from 19 countries found "progressive businesses—businesses that have enabled emerging mobile and consumer technologies and have established progressive policies and business processes to support them"—to be "54 percent more likely to report increased profits than businesses not leveraging these technologies, policies and processes." Here are some of the solutions available to companies with flexible remote-working policies.