Employers who are considering shifting to a telecommuting workforce would do well to look at the groundbreaking effort that Dell, the global computer giant, has undertaken to have 50 percent of the company’s workers telecommuting by 2020.
Dell’s goal of increasing its telecommuting workforce is a key element of a broader strategy called the Dell 2020 Legacy of Good Plan, which has an overarching goal of “driving social and environmental change.” In mapping out strategy, Dell teamed up with Intel to commission the Global Evolving Workforce Study from TNS Global, one of the world’s largest research agencies. The first TNS study was released in 2011; the latest study came out in 2014.
The results of the 2014 study provide fresh insights into why Dell’s growing remote workforce is exciting, and offers a roadmap of sorts on how to transition to a telecommuting workforce. Here are some of the report’s highlights, outlining goals for companies looking to increase work-from-home options:
Embrace the growing global acceptance of remote workers.
When the 2011 study was conducted, about 44 percent of employees surveyed enjoyed flexible workplace options, including telecommuting. By 2014, some 64 percent of workers worldwide reported that their employers allowed them to do some of their work remotely. “The way work is being done is changing forever,” Dell noted on its website–while acknowledging that the impact of remote work differs by factors such as industry, employee role, and environmental concerns.
Offer secure access to great technology.
Companies looking to build a telecommuting workforce should offer advanced mobile connectivity and take steps to make sure that all devices employees use for work-related purpose are secure. That includes so-called personal BYOD (bring your own device) laptops and hand-held computers that employees may use, along with company-provided devices, to do their jobs.
Focus on activity-based work.
Employers should seek to provide remote employees with the devices and technology that helps them successfully complete the specific tasks they’re assigned. Activity-based work is less about personal workspaces and more about collaboration and understanding how to be a successful remote workplace. According to the report, activity-based work is an emerging factor in the telecommuting workforce that accounts for “not only where you do your work, but what kind of work you’re doing.”
Acknowledge the “blurred” lines between work and home.
Increasingly, remote workers are “willingly” accepting that during a typical day, their work lives and their personal lives will be “intertwined, more so than ever before,” the report found. Employers should keep in mind that “employees are fundamentally the ones doing the work; technology is merely an enablement tool.” Said another way: people, not technology, are the lifeblood of any successful telecommuting workforce.
As the Dell 2020 strategy demonstrates, committing to a remote workforce takes a cohesive, long-term strategy. The final takeaway, the report concluded, is that offering telecommuting options is a great way to embrace the future of the workplace.