With the leaps and bounds we’ve made over the past several decades in terms of technology and the widespread adoption of cloud computing, more and more organizations are allowing telecommuting as an added benefit for their employees. Yet, paradoxically, those who are among the very industry that has enabled remote working – the IT industry – have somehow gotten left behind. The majority of IT professionals in the workforce today remain chained to their desks, trapped within the confines of their brick and mortar offices. The good news is there is a light at the end of the tunnel that will enable IT staff to take advantage of technological advances and be able to successfully do their jobs from home. The answer? IT automation. Here’s how.
What’s been standing in the way?
Given the fact that businesses across all industries rely on their internal IT infrastructure to tie together every department and make the jobs of employees easier and more efficient, it’s no surprise that those running the show behind the scenes in the IT department have long been considered the “heart” of the company. They’re the ones that keep things up and running, from resetting passwords to restarting systems to managing down time in the most efficient and effective manner. It’s no wonder that the very thought of allowing these critical players to work from anywhere outside of the confines of the office would send shivers down the spine of every top executive within the company.
What happens if something goes wrong and half of the IT department is working from home? Can they really manage the situation remotely, or will the entire company suffer? It is this overwhelming fear that kept many IT professionals from being granted the same freedoms of other skilled employees in other departments. The result? Frustration, resentment, a lowered level of employee satisfaction and ultimately, higher turnover.
Enter IT automation as a solution to the problem…
The most obvious way that IT automation can be used to enable telecommuting is by allowing technology to take over many of the manual tasks that once required human intervention. When your team no longer has to spend hours doing repetitive manual tasks, such as writing scripts or managing workflows, there’s much more flexibility. Specifically, those simple but critical day to day tasks that are so important to keeping the entire company functioning, such as password resets and system restarts, can now be automated.
Another way that IT automation is changing the way IT departments work is in the methods that even complex tasks are being managed. For instance, network operation centers (NOC) are notoriously bogged down by incoming requests and tasked with upholding tight SLA’s to keep satisfaction levels high. Where these IT professionals would have previously been required to remain vigilant at their work stations to effectively manage incoming notifications, now those alerts and notifications can be sent instantly to the appropriate party via email or even SMS text and responded to remotely, thus freeing up employees to be able to do their jobs efficiently from anywhere.
Is it worth it?
It may be surprising to some the extent to which employees in the workforce today value the ability to work from home. In fact, in a study conducted by Global Workplace Analytics, 80% consider telecommuting an attractive perk in an employer. Furthermore, 36% would choose remote working over a pay raise. And telecommuting doesn’t just benefit employees. Out of 1,500 technology professionals polled, 37% of them said they would take a 10% cut in pay to be able to work from home. That means an automatic reduction in salary expenditure, not to mention lower turnover due to a boost in employee satisfaction.
Specifically, some of the many advantages of allowing employees to telecommute include:
- Increases employee satisfaction
- Reduces employee turnover
- Increases productivity
- Reduces unscheduled absences
- Saves the company money
- Promotes collaboration and employee empowerment
- Allows for recruitment of talent without geographical restraints
- Better for the environment
With more organizations granting their employees more freedom and flexibility to work from home, IT professionals everywhere were beginning to feel the impact. IT automation is now providing the necessary solution to eliminate the need for IT staff to be physically within the office, giving them the tools to effectively do their jobs from wherever they choose. This has succeeded in both leveling the playing field for IT professionals and in ultimately bringing even more benefits to the organizations as a whole – a true win-win.