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."
Google Apps for Business
Google apps may seem the realm of consumers, but Hangouts are a convenient way to get face time with colleagues or partners outside of your organization. President Obama even knows they're a quick way to connect with everyone you need to reach.
Cisco Systems offers a host of collaboration solutions that include WebEx Conferencing, WebEx Social, Jabber, TelePresence and Virtual Events. Video and collaboration are key growth areas for the networking giant.
In a Feb. 27 blog post noting the recent "buzz" about remotely working, Sheila Jordan, senior vice president of communication and collaboration IT, wrote that 89 percent of the company's 72,000-plus employees telecommute at least once a week and 32 are classified as mobile workers. Cisco also estimates that the average worker saves 79 hours a year in "commute avoidance," and that mobile and remote workers have higher performance ratings than traditional workers. "Results are what we focus on—not where you elect to work," she added.
Microsoft also offers a range of solutions, from Exchange Server to Office 365 to SkyDrive, to support mobile workers and collaboration between colleagues.
Microsoft: Balancing Act
In a Feb. 28 post, Microsoft blogger Dan Smith acknowledged that there's a balancing act to remote work—flexibility on one side, and a response of effort and productivity on the other—that was possibly off-kilter at Yahoo. However, Smith added, "There are many potential advantages to this form of working, particularly in the digital age, and rejecting these altogether is not a decision to be taken lightly."
"Companies looking to find success in remote collaboration need to strengthen their governance strategy, which is the foundation and frame that supports IT to empower business productivity," Axceler CEO and President Michael Alden told eWEEK. "Axceler arms companies with tools such as reporting and policy enforcement, to successfully manage their enterprise collaboration platforms and maintain data security, while allowing employees to make more informed decisions, regardless of their location."
SAP Jam connects "customers, partners and employees with information, applications and processes to drive results in your social network and your applications, and while mobile," says the SAP Website. Karie Willyerd, vice president of Learning & Social Adoption at SAP told eWEEK, "With today's technology solutions, it shouldn't matter whether you work from home or the office; what should matter is whether your employees are equipped with the right tools to be successful."
Mimecast's Mimefiles iPad App
"Remote working environments give employees a flexible work-life balance, while ensuring location isn't a barrier to accessing top talent," Peter Bauer, CEO of Mimecast, told eWEEK. "Mimecast Web-based and mobile email archiving and continuity solutions help employees collaborate remotely by allowing them secure access to business data from any location, even when regular access to email is down or offline access to files is needed."
NaviSite, a Time Warner Cable company, provides hosting and managed application, messaging and cloud services. "We believe that telecommuting is a great option for today's workforce, especially with the time constraints most Americans feel right now," the company said in a statement, responding to Yahoo's policy change. "The key is to make sure companies have the right technology solutions in place to provide mobile workers with the access to tools, systems and applications they would have in their offices."