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Remote Telecommuting


The transparent home office
With the advent of VoIP and IP telephony, the home office has become a cost-saving endeavor for both the employee and employer. Many businesses have instituted flexible work hours and have determined that some employee’s responsibilities can be fulfilled from home. The employee benefits from a more flexible schedule, less time wasted on commute, and accommodating lifestyle. The employer benefits through decreased workstation costs, greater productivity time, and less brick and mortar overhead.
Remote voice and data connections
Remote use of centralized computer applications like accounting systems and order entry systems is common place. Most large corporations and even medium sized businesses allow some sort of secure remote access to their data networks. This is usually performed via a VPN software client or VPN hardware.

More recently, voice applications have migrated to the remote realm. Major manufacturers like Avaya, Cisco, and Nortel offer IP PBX systems that support remote voice applications. In particular, IP soft phones and IP desk phones combined with a VPN connection over the internet allow employees to connect to the company phone system from home.

Employees can remotely perform data entry, order fulfillment, or any server oriented computer task. They can also answer, transfer, and make phone calls and access company voice mail.

Telecommuting check list
For companies wanting to offer remote telecommuting to employees, here is a basic checklist of requirements:
  • Broadband internet connection at business and remote employee site
  • Company site – VPN security appliance (e.g. Router with firewall and VPN host support) and IP PBX system with support for remote IP soft phones or desk phones.
  • Employee site (hardware based connection): Router with VPN client support. This hardware will allow both PC and IP soft phone or desk phone to connect directly to remote data and voice network.
  • Employee site (software based solution): VPN software client to connect PC to company’s VPN host. IP deskphone with VPN firmware to connect remotely to phone system or IP softphone installed on PC connected via VPN software client.