Friday, February 18, 2011

Virtual workforce requires robust telecom infrastructure

While a recent survey found that less than 4 percent of U.S. private sector workers actually work from home, that figure could reach as high as 30 percent by 2019, according to TechCast, a George Washington University–based virtual think tank.

What's behind this coming workplace revolution? Quite simply, "work" no longer needs to be defined as a place you go. We're witnessing the emergence of a next generation workforce that is always-on and hyper-connected via broadband, with a proliferation of connected devices and access to on-the-go Internet-based applications and cloud-based services that make working from anywhere possible.

The above excerpt from a Reuters article goes on to point out various pluses of telework including reduced carbon emissions from less commuting and mutual benefits for employers (better productivity, lower office costs) and employees (greater work/life balance and job satisfaction). While not mentioned specifically, improved work/life balance could also yield big benefits in lower health care costs by freeing up time for exercise that would otherwise be spent commuting to and from the office.

In order for the virtual workforce to become a reality, workers will need advanced telecommunications infrastructure at their doorsteps that can support videoconferencing and other interactive applications. That means fiber optic connections offering symmetric upload and download speeds and scalability for future growth that is generally not offered by incumbent telco and cable companies.

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