Its not just a trend.

Thanks to Marissa Mayer’s new policy at Yahoo and Sheryl Sandburg’s recent leadership manifesto Lean In, there’s a great debate going on at the moment about company employees working from home instead of the office and women in the workplace standing up for themselves in order to advance their careers.  At first the two debates seem to fall on different sides of the fence, but at the root of it is how technology has allowed companies to build a workforce that does not necessarily need to show up to the office in order to be effective in their jobs.  And this therefore gives greater flexibility to women (and men) trying to juggle advancing their career, taking care of their family and personal happiness.

Maybe a Hybrid Solution is the Best Solution.

Sandburg’s personal success cannot be disputed, but if employees lean in, only to keel over on to the boardroom table out of fatigue, something is wrong. Managers ought to create the conditions to get the best work from all staff, not simply to extract the most work from a determined few. As software entrepreneur Prerna Gupta said in NYTimes.com, most digital-age jobs require both creative collaboration and “unstructured time to think” implying a hybrid solution might be the best solution.

While Mayer’s blanket policy requiring all remote workers to show up at the office may contradict this notion, we should recognize that she’s a new leader of a company in need of drastic change.  It does not mean that working remotely isn’t effective, it just shines a light on the fact that it needs to be managed. Going mobile is reported to have increased employee productivity by 20% and there is no question it provides greater flexibility to manage a family life. Companies today are finding this flexibility is key to being able to quickly and efficiently service clients.

Be sure to consider your I.T. infrastructure.

Going mobile can certainly be more cost effective than ever with the right initial set up. This kind of change doesn’t happen overnight though and its definitely not a matter of just letting your employees work from home when they want.  At the core, you need a solid technology network that can support a mobile workforce, which should not be taken lightly.

With regards to your technology, consider the following:

  • Make sure your infrastructure can support a mobile workforce and you have a suitable VPN setup and licensing strategy.
  • Ensure your IT policies cover employee-owned equipment (either allow it with restrictions, or do not allow it), and enforce security, such as anti-virus software and firewalls.
  • Employ a workforce management tool to help coordinate business objectives and goal setting, and to manage employee relationships along the chain of command
  • Institute security measures from the company’s perspective, not the employee’s — limit employees to ‘need-to-know’ access to sensitive company data.
  • Ensure your IT policies address the dependence of home internet availability and speed.
  • Implement an organizational control structure to manage the issues experienced by a mobile workforce. For instance, what happens if one of your employees loses his/her smartphone? What company data was on it and how secure was that data? Can you remote wipe the device? Was data backed up and can you still access it?

Supporting a more mobile workforce can have a tremendously positive effect on your company’s bottom line, but there are real and pressing factors to consider when it comes to preparing your company for this kind of change.

Case Study

For years GCInfotech has employed a mixture of full-time and part-time employees, some who are in the office every day, all day, and some who only come in when needed.  Our latest addition, Ginny Wills, was brought in to lead the website development and online marketing efforts for the company. But it was only through providing her the flexibility that she needed to look after her small children that we were able to entice her to join us.  She works from home some days and in the office some days, depending on what’s going on, and now both GCInfotech and its clients benefit from her over 20 years of experience. She’s happier for it and our clients are better off because of it.

GCInfotech has experience in helping companies lay the foundation for these changes so let us know when you are ready to take the plunge. With the proper controls in place, the only way to go is up. Give us a call at 888.323.3066.

Will your Company Survive?

In our interconnected world, virtually every aspect of your company’s operation is vulnerable to disruption. Research shows your business is more vulnerable than you think.  

But what is Business Continuity anyway?
Business Continuity is the activity performed by an organization to ensure that critical business functions will be available to customers, suppliers, regulators, or anyone that must have access to those functions. It’s not something implemented at the time of a disaster (too late!) – it refers to those tasks you should perform daily to maintain service, consistency, and recoverability.  Your Business Continuity Plan should be something that is constantly evolving and adapting to changes in the business environment.

So what are the first steps?
The entire concept of business continuity is based on identifying and then prioritizing all business functions within an organization. A comprehensive business risk analysis is the primary tool for gathering this information and is therefore the first step to developing your business continuity plan.

What if disaster strikes?
Does your business have what it takes to survive?

Web


It’s all in the Planning!
Establishing a continuity and disaster recovery plan is an essential part of any long-term strategy for maintaining continuous business operations. Sound disaster recovery and business continuity planning should be three things: preventive, detective, and corrective. Prevention is your first line of defense. But when undesirable events do occur, detection before they occur is critical, and correcting the system after they occur may dictate the survival of your business.

Natural disasters, security breaches and man-made accidents do happen. It’s how we plan for them that will ensure our survival.

According to the Quorum Disaster Recovery Report, Q1 2013, which details findings on the most common causes of system downtime, the four most common causes of system downtime were: 1) Hardware Failure  2) Human Error  3) Software Failure and 4) Natural Disaster.

Case Study
A media company in Wilton, CT recently asked for our help because they consistently lose power in the office anytime there is a storm and it was significantly affecting their business.  We couldn’t help that the power was going out and we certainly couldn’t influence the weather, but we could help them continue to be productive when these things happened. We made some changes to their email system that took it from an in-house function to an externally hosted function that would not be affected when the power went out in the office.  By doing this, it gives the employees the ability to continue to be productive and access their email from home or anywhere there is an Internet connection.  In this case, simple preventive steps to ensure everyone could use email despite external factors has allowed for business continuity following a storm and has made a big impact on productivity.

GCInfotech can help you assess how potential risks will impact your ability to deliver products and services.

Don’t get caught unaware.

You never get a 2nd chance to make a first impression.

Its the first place potential customers, employees or investors will go to learn about you, your company and what you represent. In a few short seconds visitors to your website size-up your image, make a judgment call, and either engage or move on.

Search engines and potential customers look for impact from your website in two major areas: Relevance and Trust. Building both can drive your credibility and your business forward. Begin by asking yourself a few key questions:

  1. Why do we have a website?
  2. What purpose is it supposed to serve?
  3. Do people immediately “get” what our business is all about, what we value, and how we’re going to solve their problem?

Recently a business owner came to GCInfotech looking website optimization. He envisioned a more intelligent, user-friendly and feature-rich website that would engage and convert more potential customers. He also wanted the ability to manage his website’s content and structure so that he didn’t have to spend money every time he needed to make a change or for ongoing maintenance.

Our development team worked with him to convert his flat HTML-based website into a robust user-friendly Joomla-based content management system (CMS) that was SEO ready and could be customized to meet his exact specifications. We migrated the current content from his previous website and incorporated exciting new functionality like an advanced product search and virtual facility tour that help visitors get the answers they need quickly and efficiently. We developed a two-hour training program to train select employees on how to change content like text, links and images, as well as make simple modifications to a page’s layout and structure so they had the power to manage the site on their own.

Your website is a strategic part of your business.

Even when you’re not at work, your website should be helping your business grow. Ask yourself what your website is doing for you and whether it’s aligned with your business needs and objectives. The GCInfotech professional web design team is here to help.