The workplace is undergoing a period of change. With the rise of mobile technology and integration of personal devices and office equipment, employees increasingly seek flexible schedules from their managers. That means fewer workers are heading into the office every morning, opting instead to telecommute from home.

This trend has proponents and naysayers among both employers and their staff. One thing that has emerged is the fact that a single, all-encompassing work schedule may not be feasible. Some employees will thrive if given the chance to stay in their own home for work, while others require that daily morning commute and office routine. The companies that optimize their schedules and deploy an effective, comprehensive telecommuting policy will have a leg up on the competition.

"The workplace is undergoing a period of change."

Keys to a strong work-from-home policy

Every company should examine their approach to telecommuting, as employees value flexibility. In order to develop the right policy for the company, management should pay attention to a few principles.

Information security
Above all, the most important consideration is – how will the influx of new work devices impact IT security? According to Forbes, organizations should have a plan for how to handle previously unregulated devices belonging to their employees.

Businesses should train their employees to follow the proper protocols and correctly install the necessary security software onto their devices. The stakes are high – the failure of a single individual to follow company policy in this regard could jeopardize everyone's data. In addition, there should be a contingency plan in place in case a breach does occur, so an organization can deal with it before it worsens.

Expectations
Just because an employee is working from home does not mean he or she should be held to a different standard of production, reported Business News Daily. If individuals prove not to be effective in a work-from-home setting, then the worker and management should come up with a different solution.

"Remote workers should be available during office hours, must meet deadlines and complete projects with excellence and maintain communication with their manager and co-workers," Brian Shapland, GM of office furniture company Turnstone, told Business News Daily. "Workers who do not meet these expectations risk losing the trust of leadership and sidelining their team."

Additionally, telecommuting should be viewed as a privilege – employees with good standing in the company and positive work ethics and attitudes should be given preference.

Some employees are more comfortable working from home.Some employees are more comfortable working from home.

Communication
Even when individuals are working from home, they should be held accountable for interacting with clients, coworkers and management as necessary, Business News Daily asserted. To that end, an office must be enabled with the proper telecommunication equipment to allow for face-to-face meetings. Programs like GoToMeeting and Skype allow for individuals in different regions to speak in-person and in real time.

"Nothing replaces the in-person meeting, voice call or Skype meeting," Scott Slater, owner of a burger franchise, told the news source. "This type of communication not only builds comradery, but it's also important to be able to see and listen to the tone of someone's voice, as emails can often get lost in translation."

Telecom industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in telecommunications equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.