IT Challenged to Support Growing Number of Small Business Remote Workers 

No longer are employees tied to their desks nine to five (or longer). Today eight out of 10 workers say that their companies allow for flexible and mobile work, Plantronics recent “Mobile Collaboration Survey” finds. But while the ability to work anywhere/anytime can boost employee productivity and efficiency – not to mention satisfaction – it poses challenges, especially for IT professionals.

On behalf of Plantronics, Spiceworks conducted a survey of 400 U.S. IT professionals and found that 60% say that their organizations don’t fully understand the challenges of remote workers, who still need to collaborate with each other regardless of where they are. As a result, IT is dealing with more requests for support from remote workers – 92% of remote workers call IT when they have technology issues – and grappling with the best ways to equip these individuals so they can be effective at their jobs. Among survey respondents, 44% have increased support for mobile workers in the past two years, and 53% expect this trend will continue over the next two years.

The key technology issues of remote workers are:

    • Unreliable internet (49%)
    • Background noise when on calls (28%)
    • Distractions (16%)

Remote workers also rely on an average number of three collaboration apps, which require some user proficiency to maximize their potential. Top tools include Skype for Business, GoToMeeting, Dropbox, Skype and WebEx. Yet only 50% of IT professionals offer users guidelines on how to optimize their remote working experience.

Small businesses also support mobile workers by providing:

  • Mobile phone data plan,
  • Mobile internet access/hotspot,
  • Headset for laptop/mobile device (76% of organizations purchased a professional headset; half were Plantronics),
  • Internet home access

Employee mobility is the way forward for small business employees. By providing team members with the right mobile devices and ability to get online anywhere, along with guidance on best practices, workers may be on the road but never feel too far from the office.