Modern technology has allowed companies to grow and develop in interesting directions. Specifically, the widespread availability of high-speed Internet has enabled many businesses to let their employees work from home. Remote workers are showing up in multiple different industries, with many employees espousing the benefits of being able to telecommute.
However, there are a few downsides to this telecommuting trend that must be considered if it is to continue. Most notably, allowing employees to access private company information from home is something of a challenge. With that in mind, why do so many employees want to telecommute, and what can businesses do about this?
"Between 80 and 90 percent of U.S. employees wish they could work from home."
People want to work from home
To begin, it's important to note that there is a very clear and present desire to work from home. This certainly isn't surprising, considering the trend's many benefits. Not only do workers get the pleasure of completing their duties from a comfortable and well-known place, they also don't have to commute. This can save multiple hours every day, and also allow the employee the opportunity to start work earlier without even having to change their morning routine.
By sifting through data from the U.S. Census Bureau, GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com discovered that between 80 and 90 percent of U.S. employees wish they could work from home at least some of the time. What's more, the analysis found that the number of employees who work from home has exploded 103 percent since 2005.
Clearly, this trend has gathered a lot of steam in recent years. In fact, a separate study conducted by Flexjobs supported this growth in telecommuting. The company, which creates an annual list of the top 100 companies looking for remote workers, found that the number of jobs that allow working from home increased 36 percent between 2015 and the previous year. Flexjobs tracked a 26 percent increase between 2013 and 2014, showing how quickly companies are realizing the benefits of this trend.
Certain industries have restrictions
Although there are a lot of advantages to allowing employees to work from home, many industries have restrictions that pose a challenge to remote working. Perhaps the best example of this is health care, which is often mired by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This compliance standard regulates the transfer of medical records, with very strict rules on how these documents can be moved around.
This poses a huge challenge for remote workers in this field. As it stands, many medical facilities rely on legacy fax systems in order to move around sensitive health care information. While this certainly gets the job done in a way that complies with HIPAA, it limits the number of people who have access to this data. Remote workers can't expect to drive into the office every time they need some important piece of information; however, emailing it to them simply isn't an option.
This is disconcerting, because Flexjobs found that the medical and health care field had the second-highest number of work-from-home jobs on their list. So how are these employees getting access to the medical records they require to do their jobs?
FoIP can ensure employees get the documents they need
One method health care facilities have begun to use is Fax over IP. Much like legacy fax machines, fax over IP is HIPAA-compliant and secure. However, unlike this outdated technology, FoIP can be accessed from any device with the necessary login credentials. This means that remote workers can get ahold of important medical documents from their home computer or personal smartphone, without ever having to set foot in the office.
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