Snow fallout highlights challenges for remote workers

Advice Jan 07, 2010
NCC Group warnes that a lack of education among businesses around remote working is contributing to the spiralling

Experts at Manchester-based IT consultancy specialist NCC Group have warned that a lack of education among businesses around remote working is contributing to the spiralling economic cost of the snowy weather conditions, which are expected to continue into next week.

Business groups have widely predicted that the cost of absenteeism as a result of the snow could cost the UK economy up to £2bn, with The Federation of Small Businesses reporting that 10 percent of the UK’s 30mworkforce was unable to get to work on Tuesday, at a cost of £600m.

Predictably, a number of unified communications (UC) vendors have lauded remote working as a simple solution to the problem, allowing staff to collaborate on shared documents and conduct meetings via web or videoconferencing.

However, remote working experts at NCC Group have warned that businesses face a number of challenges before implementing remote working to bolster their business continuity strategies, and believe a lack of education is hampering the effective use of this technology.

Roger Rawlinson, managing director of Assurance Division at NCC Group, explains: “The business case for remote working is undoubtedly strong. Remote access to data, videoconferencing, IP telephony and collaboration software all offer viable options for staff to work from home and allow business operations to remain unaffected by adverse weather conditions.

“However, what many vendors are not publicising is the challenges businesses face in implementing remote working. In most cases, this requires a dramatic shift in business culture and working practices, which, across large, medium and small businesses alike can mean significant planning, and a period of education and training. Some companies with entrenched processes often find considerable resistance to this new technology.

“In many cases, existing technology will not support remote working, while many larger businesses do not currently keep tabs on unified communications tools already employed in different areas of the company. Integration and staff awareness are both essential in the process, and, if not conducted properly, the new technology can go to waste.

“Businesses should seek independent advice to ensure any solution employed fits well with their objectives, and is future-proofed to ensure that the technology can be updated so that it does not become obsolete.”

NCC Group has compiled its five top tips for businesses implementing remote working technology here

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