Companies need as well to set policies around hardware, software and connectivity. Are you going to supply corporate laptops that get carried back and forth, or install virtualization software on home computers (and if it's the latter, is it the employee's machine or the corporation's)? Will you subsidize connectivity costs like telephone or Internet? Whatever the policy, it should be determined beforehand and communicated frequently.
Whatever guidelines you set up, take advantage of the technology available, whether it's unified communications systems that show employees' availability or shared calendars. "When people are working at home, you need multi-modal communication, including something visual like WebEx or whiteboarding," says Jetly, who plans to invest in videoconferencing in 2013.
Finally, think about your network infrastructure, especially if you anticipate telecommuting to spike, such as when a majority of employees are home during a snowstorm. Consultant Gordon says, "If 10 percent traditionally log in, how robust is your infrastructure when Hurricane Sandy forces 50 percent to log in?"
Physical considerations aside, the most important element "making it work" comes down to management. "You need to define the success metric," says Jetly. "If you're not clear in your own mind what people are accountable for, and the team doesn't understand how they're measured, telecommuting will give you heartburn."
Frequent contributor Baldwin, a Silicon Valley freelancer, is perpetually remote.
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