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Long Term Work from Home: What Are the Implications?

work from home 

By Nicolette Carklin, Parallels

Did you know that four out of 10 people in the EU are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Even when this crisis ends, we expect working from home to be part of the new normal. Therefore, it isn't surprising if you, as an employer, have already studied the benefits and are now convinced to allow your own employees to work from home. Before you commit to that, there are a few things you will want to consider first.

1. Is the Job Really Suitable for Remote Work?

Although a large percentage of current jobs are very suitable for remote work, there are still several exceptions. For instance, chefs, bankers, flight crew members and healthcare professionals cannot work from home.

Even certain roles that theoretically appear suitable for remote work might, in reality, still require onsite presence. For example, electronics engineers might still have to report on-site to access specialized equipment or to use design software that, either for technical or intellectual property security reasons, can't be installed on a regular home PC.

So, before you allow an employee to work from home, determine first whether that person still needs to spend occasional time on-site or whether it's even advisable to allow them to work from home at all.

2. Are the Working Conditions at Home Favorable Enough?

Those errands, these household chores, the kids, the bedroom, Netflix, the kitchen, the list goes on-homes are simply teeming with distractions. While a lot of these distractions can be countered easily by self-discipline, there are other conditions that can't be avoided unless your employee shells out some money.

For instance, if your employee needs to answer calls but lives on a busy street, that person might need to spend money on renovations and insulation. Or if you're in the tropics, and the workspace doesn't have air conditioning, then installing at least a window unit in the office area might be required. In cases like these, you might want to look into the possibility of subsidizing or sharing expenses with the employee.

3. How Will You Track Productivity?

In a work-from-home arrangement, work can no longer be treated as a place you go to but rather something you do. To take that a step further, it's no longer even time-bound but rather output-bound. Hence, you might want to rethink the way your business tracks employee productivity.

Instead of keeping tabs on when an employee clocks in or out, you will probably want to ask for regular submissions of output products and progress reports. The frequency of these submissions can vary depending on the criticality of the person's role. Some employees might have to submit records on a daily basis, while for others, a weekly submission might suffice.

4. Do You Need to Provide Any Equipment?

A lot of companies who have started remote work initiatives already have a standing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. In these scenarios, it's usually assumed that aspiring remote employees are going to continue using their own devices. However, if you don't have a BYOD policy yet, you'll have to decide who's going to provide the equipment-the employee or you, the employer.

This particular issue becomes even trickier if the employee needs to perform computationally demanding tasks requiring a more powerful (and understandably more expensive) PC or laptop. It might be just too expensive for your employee to shoulder the cost.

5. How Will You Secure Corporate Data?

One of the major concerns about work from home initiatives is that they put corporate data and intellectual property at risk. Homes don't have the same level of security as most corporate headquarters.

What if your employee deals with highly confidential data and a burglar breaks in and steals that employee's laptop or hard drives? What if your employee's house gets flooded and suffers extensive water damage, including a ruined laptop? You probably shouldn't place security matters in the hands of employees who handle sensitive data. That responsibility should fall in your hands.

6. How Will Your IT Team Administer Such a Massive Collection of Remote Devices?

Managing a fleet of devices that are in the hands of remote workers can be extremely difficult for IT administrators. Not only might they struggle with learning the intricacies of various operating systems and platforms (especially in BYOD environments), they'll also have to deal with the fact that these devices will not be on the organization's premises most of the time.

How are security policies going to be enforced? How are upgrades, patches, and new applications going to be installed? If each device has to be physically brought in for these tasks, it's going to take a great deal of time and employee compliance.

Making Long Term Work-from-Home Arrangements with Parallels RAS

Work-from-home initiatives don't have to be complicated and costly. What you need is an all-in-one solution that can reduce costs, mitigate risks and simplify management. One solution that has all these capabilities is Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS). Parallels RAS is a versatile, all-in-one VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) solution that delivers applications and virtual desktops to any device, anytime, anywhere.

In a VDI environment, all digital assets-including data, applications and operating systems-are deployed, installed, and managed in a central location, usually an on-premises data center or a public cloud. This architecture has several benefits for remote working.

With Parallels RAS, you (or your remote employees) don't have to spend a fortune on hardware in order to accommodate computationally demanding applications. Because most of the computation happens on the server-side, it's possible to deliver even graphics-intensive software to something as resource-constricted as a thin client, tablet or Chromebook.

The centralized architecture of Parallels RAS is also a boon from a security standpoint. Because applications and data are hosted in a central location and not locally on your employees' devices, there's no danger if the device gets stolen or destroyed. Your digital assets remain safe in your data center.

In addition, IT administrators can perform updates, apply security policies, install applications and so on, in just one location. They no longer have to physically handle every single device. What usually takes weeks or months for a large organization to accomplish can be finished in just a couple of days or hours.

Another advantage of Parallels RAS is that it can be deployed in all major public clouds, including AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. This means you can take advantage of the scalability, security and reach of these cloud providers to cater to the needs of your remote employees.

Should you wish to try Parallels RAS yourself, simply download the FREE 30-day trial now.

Published Wednesday, September 09, 2020 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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