There’s no one right answer when thinking about allowing employees to work from home. Working from home has many benefits, such as you needing less space (saving on rent) and some would say employees get more work done. On the other hand the face to face communication you get from being in little cubicles is missing when employees work at home.
For those who are against telecommuting The Standard has 10 ways to kill any work at home project.
For example, one of the tips is to ensure your initial telecommuting project is staff with marginal employees. This way when works does not get done and they under-perform, management will be begging to stop telecommuting.
On the other hand, InfoWorld wrote an interesting article (referenced in The Standard article) in favor of telecommuting. The author writes What this all boils down to, at least in part, is the need for a well-thought-out telecommuting strategy, complete with guidelines as to what is expected of both manager and employee, as well as adequate training for all parties concerned: those working from home and those working from the office. On top of training, everyone needs to have the necessary tools to ensure the telecommuters are adequately connected; that is, they have access to all the tools they need in addition to being made to feel included in what happens at the office.
When considering telecommuting you have to think about:
File access (a virtual file server from eGnyte, Box.net could do the trick)
Collaboration (there are dozens of collaboration tools such as WebOffice, Box.net, HyperOffice, OfficeLive, Google Docs and more)
Telecommunications (if you don’t want employees using their cell phone numbers, but your office number use Gotvmail, VirtualPBx, OneBox, Microsoft Response Point, Talkswitch or other such services to connect your corporate phone system to a remote telephone number)
Other things: Instant Messaging, Twitter can be great communication tools Remember backup and support. Carbonite is what I use, it works well – very well. For support consider getting a contract from your computer vendor, local consultant or a service such as Plum Choice