Essay On Managing A Virtual Workforce With The Use Of Technology.

1111 words - 4 pages

Managing the 21st Century workforceAdvantages of a "virtual" workforceToday's rapid changes in technology have altered not only how people work, but where they work. High-powered lap-top computers, modems, video conference units and the Internet have created a new category of the workforce, known as "telecommuters." Also frequently referred to as "virtual" workers, these employees conduct most of their business affairs without ever stepping into the office.Telecommuting appeals to many employers because it enables them to grow the business without having to incur additional overhead costs. Staffing flexibility, including the efficient use of part-time employees, may also be benefits flowing from the use of telecommuters.Telecommuting appeals to many employees, particularly those who could not otherwise work in a more traditional office environment, such as people with physical limitations and people with demanding child-care needs.Today's employees not only crave flexibility, but also often have the leverage in this tight labor market to insist on it, and employers may be hard- pressed to argue that they can't accommodate their requests. In the United States, as anywhere else, technology has reshaped the landscape, making it easier for virtual workers to function as if they were in the next cubicle. E-mail alone may be enough for employees to stay in touch and emerging Web-based tools help virtual teams work more efficiently through services such as real-time chat or sites that allow sharing files and posting schedules.Last year, 2.2 million, or 28.9%, of small companies with fewer than 100 employees offered telecommuting, up from 1.7 million, or 25.2%, in 1998, according to International Data Corp. (The research firm defines telecommuting as having at least one W-2 employee working at home at least three days a month.)Implementing the "virtual office" toolsPrior to the advent of newer technologies such as Virtual Private Networks or "VPNs", the only other options for creating remote communication were expensive leased lines or frame relay circuits. Today, Internet access is generally local and much less expensive than dedicated Remote Access Server connections.There are a great number of methods for deploying VPNs in today's computing environment. The VPN market is populated with products and solutions which focus only on one type of VPN application. Most VPN vendors offer products that only provide authentication and encryption, leading companies to believe that these two components alone comprise a VPN. However, encryption and authentication alone are inadequate to implement the various types of mission-critical VPNs demanded by companies today.The three most critical components to consider while planning and implementing a Virtual Private Network or VPN are:*Security, including access control, authentication and encryption technologies to guarantee the security of network connections, authenticity of users, and privacy and integrity of data...

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