Tools that give telecommuters a voice

22 Mar 2007
00:00
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More and more companies in Asia are adopting telecommuting as a corporate practice to retain people and decision makers seem convinced of its merits.

Avaya, in a global research commissioned in late 2005, has found that Asian decision makers have "Ëœvery positive' attitude toward telecommuting with 60% of them thinking it improves employee productivity work life balance.

Prospective employees, particularly the senior management level. are actually demanding it. "It (telecommuting) has become part of a senior level executives' wish list today," said Roy Wakim, Director, Converged Solutions and Analyst Relations, Avaya Asia Pacific. "And if you think this person would be a real asset to your company, wouldn't you give him what he wanted, including the benefit of working from home one, two or four times a month‾" Wakim said.

Ironically, the Avaya survey also reveals that majority of these executives who give telecommuting their vote of confidence have yet to overcome their biggest fear: losing control. How would I know if they are working with me all the time‾How accessible would they be if I or their colleagues would need them‾

Workers also have their list of worries. What if there is a massive system failure and I need to send this very important document‾ What if I have matters that need immediate attention and the person I want to speak to is out of his desk‾ What if I need to place an IDD call and I don't want to use my home phone‾

Enabling Voice

Nowadays, that most typical telecommuting scenario goes like this: The office gives VPN access (using IPsec or SSL encryption) to telecommuters so that he can call up company email, filing system in some cases, line of business application. To keep in touch with his colleagues; he would use public IM services from Yahoo, MSN and AOL; and to call colleagues, customers local or overseas, he would use his home phone.

However, more than e-mail, IM or any other means of electronic communications voice remains the most important tool for telecommuters.

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