Companies are increasingly offering their employees opportunities to work remotely. When it is their own decision, employees working from home are more productive than they would be in an office space – and often they are more productive than on-site employees. Using a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) benefits remote employees and allows the employer to ensure that the employee’s work environment is up to its standards.
Benefits and concerns of working remotely
Research has confirmed that remote employees are not only more productive, but they also report significantly less stress when working from home. The increased energy and decreased stress levels associated with working from home lead to great benefits for the company as well.
A study by the Harvard Business Review compared two groups over a nine-month period; one group worked in the office, and one group worked from home. The group working from home saw an average of 13.5% more calls completed, significantly fewer sick days taken, and $1,900 in savings per employee. Wow.
A portion of that savings comes from remote employees providing their own computer and workplace setup, saving the employer the cost of providing equipment or office space for them. If your remote employees are providing their own computer hardware, you will want to ensure that they have the technical resources necessary to efficiently and effectively fulfill their duties. The power of their desktop, the OS they use, and the applications they have access to are all things you want to avoid becoming problems with their workflow. And of course, the ability to monitor and maintain the security of your company’s information is paramount.
Using VDI to accommodate remote workers
A VDI setup allows each user to log in to their own desktop hosted on a separate machine. This provides consistent performance whether they are working onsite for a day or working from home. It also gives them access to the same desktop, files and information whether they are at their home computer, using a secondary computer in a separate location, or working from their smartphone.
The power of the device used to access the virtual desktop has little impact on performance, as the work and storage are performed by the host computer’s hardware. If your remote employee is located far from your main office, VDI makes it easy to have them travel in their own area on your behalf.
Your VDI implementation may allow you to have a single “golden” image. Changes to this image will be propagated to each user’s image. This ensures your entire workforce has the exact suite of applications they need and that every device is kept up to date. It also means you can control the security measures that are used and how often checks are performed to keep the work environments safe. This offers the same sort of consistency and control you would expect in an office of cubicles, in spite of the different devices, locations, and preferences of your employees.
Providing VDI will be increasingly important
The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that 19% of employees reported doing a portion of their work remotely in 2003. By 2015, that figure had risen to 23%. Even if your business does not support working remotely at the moment (or if you currently only have a few remote employees), it would be wise to pay attention to this trend and assume that it will have more and more of an impact over time.
Virtual workers are a natural fit for the business world, and a proper VDI solution can allow you to seamlessly maintain the benefits and feel of a single office location as you add additional remote employees to your workforce.