Employer's IT systems not making working from home easy!

(19 Posts)
RustyBear Fri 05-Sep-08 23:59:17

If your company won't set up a VPN, can you at least set up forwarding for your work emails to an account you can access from home?

Cosette Fri 05-Sep-08 23:47:56

I work for a large IT company, and most people work from home at least some of the time. None of our Sales people have desks - instead they work from home, come into an office for meetings and/or hotdesk or are visiting customers.

We have laptops, work funded broadband, and VPN for a secure connection with exactly the same access as you would get in an office.

In fact by encouraging people to work in flexible locations the company has saved millions in office costs. The employees save commuting time and fuel costs.

notcitrus Fri 25-Jul-08 22:54:19

We officially can work from home, if we already have our own bradband connection - work supply a laptop and a security dongle.

However getting it set up is a hassle. When I needed to start working from home (SPD, not allowed to commute), it took 3 weeks to get the passwords sorted, and that was only after my boss told IT they could start paying my salary as it was their fault I couldn't do any work.

Laptop, dongle and passwords were couriered over the next day, grin

The connection is pretty ropey and I have to restart the machine twice a day, and can't get in to some drives I need (IT cockup rather than policy, but I'm too tired to sort it). But still, means I can work for 6 weeks before maternity leave rather than having to take it all as sick pay.

It varies by division but most people above basic admin staff can work from home one day a week pretty easily. There's an ongoing rollout of new IT which should make it easier soon. This is a Government department so there's obvious security concerns - hence why broadband is new for them.

MrsJohnCusack Mon 21-Jul-08 10:23:17

I used to be able to work from home via a VPN - (was an extremely large multinational shipping/logistics company and I was in the IT/systems bit so they were quite hot on security)

DH currently works from home - he has to, he's in NZ and the job is in the UK grin. He has a dedicated computer in their office which he can log into remotely. however, there isn't anyh particularly sensitive info kicking around that he (and therefore anyone else) could get into - it's all frightfully interesting content for a classical music download site. But there's an example of EXTREMELY remote working!

LittleMissNorty Mon 21-Jul-08 10:16:29

I was the first person AFAIK in my Trust to work from home in this way. The remote access was originally set up for consultants who didn't want to go into work in the middle of the night to report urgent x-rays smile....just do it from home....in my flexible working application letter, I pointed out the benefits of doing some hours from home and that secure access could easily be provided. They granted me this, and the access proved invaluable during my mat leave as if there was a query, I could just have a look for myself.

Thisismynewname Mon 21-Jul-08 10:07:25

I've got a laptop too like spicemnonster - plus a printer/fax/copier all in one type thing. They gave me a mobile rather than my own landline but they pay for my broadband. We have these softphone things too - kinda like a skype thing so you can dial internal numbers for free.

prettybird Mon 21-Jul-08 10:01:52

I work for a telecoms company (not BT) and we can also work remotely. We use the wee keyfob that LittleMissNorty mentions, with the ever hcanging random number.

I used to have to connect via dial-up which was a pain - very slow plus of course it "kills" your home phone line. I can now use Broadband - but in order to do so, I had to complete - and pass - a security questionniare where one of the questions was "what is the most secure way of connecting" to which the answer was "dial-up".

spicemonster Mon 21-Jul-08 10:01:10

I think the employer has to be committed to it to make the investment work. I have access via VPN too but also am provided with a company laptop - if I use my own computer, I've only got limited access (cannot download files or view the intranet). We have loads of staff who work offsite regularly at clients though so the whole business would fall apart if the IT infrastructure wasn't there to support them.

Are there many employees who work from home in your organisation tm? There is a lot of evidence that providing the IT support to help staff work more flexibly helps retain staff but tbh I don't think many employers have taken on board the investment they need to make to improve staff retention

tigermoth Mon 21-Jul-08 09:54:50

Thanks - it is good to see at least some people's employers are providing the right IT to make working from home viable. Useful stuff to bring up when I am having my next work appraisal.

I work from home odd days here and there, so can get by with no access to our organisation's IT system. I know the system is being updated, but AFAIK, the issue of homeworkers having IT access is a distant aim.

I am no IT expert, but I just wanted to add my experiences of working from home with outdated IT to this general home front debate. From my perspective, it puts home workers at a great disadvantage and therefore affects their work/life balance.

I wonder how many companies out there are not adapting their IT for home workers? And if so, for what reasons?

And is it up to the government to put pressure/motivate companies to adapt their IT as part of their flexible working deal?

tigermoth Mon 21-Jul-08 09:48:14

Thanks - it is good to see at least some people's employers are providing the right IT to make working from home viable. Useful stuff to bring up when I am having my next work appraisal.

I work from home odd days here and there, so can get by with no access to our organisation's IT system. I know the system is being updated, but AFAIK, the issue of homeworkers having IT access is a distant aim.

I am no IT expert, but I just wanted to add my experiences of working from home with outdated IT to this general home front debate. From my perspective, it puts home workers at a great disadvantage and therefore affects their work/life balance.

I wonder how many companies out there are not adapting their IT for home workers? And if so, for what reasons?

And is it up to the government to put pressure/motivate companies to adapt their IT as part of their flexible working deal?

OTOH they may use it as a stick to beat you with re flexible working? I assume you applied for it and outlined how it would work with no detriment to the business? I'd bear that in mind if you are going to bring it up now/.

WideWebWitch Mon 21-Jul-08 09:25:01

the technoloy isnt the hatd bit by the sound o it it's your employers attitude. so maybe if you can show them some benefits? excuse typing, on the ee and keyboard is tiny

LMN me too - we are utterly paranoid (quite rightly) about patient confidentiality!

WideWebWitch Mon 21-Jul-08 09:23:19

BT are an enormous company who have made home working work to their advantage big time - I would look for case studies on them if you want to show your employer it can work without impacting security. I work from home 1 day a week and access email live. The only prohibition is customr data, I don't work on that from home due to DPA - data protection act concerns.

vpn is the only overall fully secure solution as far as i know.
i agree, i work from home from time to time, just offline, but if a regular thing i would need full access to work network.

LittleMissNorty Mon 21-Jul-08 09:21:23

I also access work via VPN and I work for the NHS - and their security requirements are legendary due to patient confidentiality......I log onto the server and then I have this little electronic thing that changes a number every minute, I enter the current number and when its verified, I can log on to our network as usual..it can be done....have a word with your manager..

Ses15 Mon 21-Jul-08 09:21:06

I have a facility to get all my work emails automatically forwarded to my home email account so that helps. I don't have access to the company intranet though and that is v v v frustrating!

Thisismynewname Mon 21-Jul-08 09:17:12

I work from home and have access to the whole network via a VPN (virtual private network) system.

Tbh, if your company are prepared to let staff work from home regularly then they should invest in some software to assist this. We also all have access to our work emails via Outloook Web Access, this can be used by people who don't have VPN.

Speak to your boss and explain the situation - VPN is perfectly secure as far as I know (can't imagine my company would be using it if not). I expect it's pretty pricey but surely there must be a clear business case to have it if staff are regularly working from home.

tigermoth Mon 21-Jul-08 09:12:01

IME, working from home is far more difficult if you cannot access your work email account or work files.

I have worked for both private and public sector organisations where working from home involves taking saved work back, but having no access to 'live' data, messages etc as they occur.

This IME is a barrier to flexible working and career progression. When I work from home I am one step removed from everything, so am at a disadvantage.

It also risks making colleagues who are in the office resentful as they are left to respond to all the incoming stuff or spend extra time forwarding important emails and documents to their working at home colleagues. This in turn adds to the reputation that people who work from home are not as on the ball, which then IME affects promotion prospects.

I have been on both sides of this - as a working from home person who was sidelined by management and colleagues and as an office based worker who felt resentful that they were given more work than their working from home colleagues.

I am not an IT expert, but looking at it from an IT persepctive, how affordable and easy is it for working from home people to have equal access to their work messages, files etc?

And how do you overcome an empolyer's reluctance to make their internal files, email systems, and company intranet accessible outside the office, as this impacts on company security?

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