As Winter Storm Draco sweeps across the midwest, the strong winds and heavy snow have closed schools and made highways nearly impassable today. The result is more employees kept home by children in need of supervision or the inability to physically make it in to the office this morning. Many businesses have even had to shut their doors temporarily, due to power outages or unsafe conditions for their employees.
The storm is expected to continue into the night, potentially bringing with it two days of productivity lost in the final days of the Q4. However, many employees are not taking the day off while they stay safely inside their homes: they’re connecting to the office via a VPN and continuing with business as usual, minus a few physical files or sticky notes they may have left in the office.
By utilizing this resource, businesses can more easily assure that work is going to get done, even with the holiday next week, and employees won’t have to use their vacation time to make up for lost wages. A VPN that is properly set up and monitored can provide a secure, reliable way for users to access shared network resources over the public network.
Travel Made Impossible in Some Areas
At O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, severe delays are being caused by the storm, and many flights are simply being cancelled. Aside from the impact this has on people travelling for the holidays, many business travel plans are being thwarted. Hopefully, organizations have backup plans in place, such as video conferencing sytems.
With a video conferencing system, such as the LifeSize RealPresence Group systems, a user can use any device, such a smart phone or laptop with a web cam, to connect to the meeting and contribute to the conversation–even when he’s not able to attend in person. Although particularly useful in unavoidable situations such as travel cancellations due to extreme weather, the infrastructure does need to be put in place some time before. And once it’s installed, organizations may want to use it often, not just in rare situations, in order to get the full benefits of telecommunication.
Video Communication, as well as secure remote access to company servers delivers benefits beyond those found during travel embargos. Video conferencing gives numerous organizations the boost they need in distance communication as they make the switch from a conference call to a video call. Video also serves to reduce the amount of time individuals spend travelling to meetings, allowing them to focus on other business-building activities. Organizations who use video communication also see an increase in employee satisfaction as their workers get to spend more time home with their families and less time out on the road.
Similarly, companies that have VPNs for their employees experience boosts in productivity and employee satisfaction. Even occasional work-from-home opportunities can help employees balance work and home more effectively, such as when their child is ill or their car needs to be fixed. Offering the option to work outside of the office is also ideal for professionals who spend a lot of time on the road, or are often stuck in airports.