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A techie test

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

Eric, a manager at a financial services company in Florida with 19 employees, updates us on his efforts to allow employees to work from home.

With so many of my employees complaining about their costly commute, I keep responding, “If I had a way to let you work from home, I’d do it.” Well, maybe there’s a way.

We contract with an information-technology consultant to help us choose software and maintain our network. Last week, I invited him to suggest tools we could use that would let employees work from home so that we could collaborate in real time.

He thought we should invest in a “graphics intensive” connectivity package so that our key off-site workers have the Web-based infrastructure and computing capacity to support the kind of things we need. The trick is the cost.

Should we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to outfit our employees’ home offices? Who knows if they’ll stay with us? And will the technology really work the way he promised?

My boss is willing to spend up to a certain amount to experiment with the idea. So I have to decide how to deploy the limited funds he’s given me to invest—and who gets to serve as work-from-home guinea pigs—to test whether all this will fly.

I’ll have our admin manager select the employees. She knows which ones have the longest commute and the most allegiance to us.

I’m glad we’re dealing with this now. I’ve heard that oil might hit $200 a gallon in the next few years. If that happens, we won’t have a choice. Our employees won’t be able to afford their commute!

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