Communications company Netsource has seen an explosion of interest in teleworking, registering a 17pc growth from quarter to quarter since the start of the year, according to sales and marketing manager Louise McKeown.
The company targets an SME community that is starting to see the benefits of broadband and is embracing the business efficiencies that teleworking and e-working can deliver.
She laid to rest old notions of owner-managers reluctant to engage with new technologies. “They are particularly open to doing things differently, which is why we launched our Broadband Connects programme,” she said. “People were calling us asking for such a service.”
Launched back in October, it gives companies the option of providing or facilitating broadband services for employees who work from home. Broadband packages range between 1Mbps and 4Mbps with bundled hardware and a five-minute self-install pack.
On the road sales staff are obvious early adopters as McKeown explained. “It facilitates them coming home, logging in over a secure virtual private network (VPN) connection that takes them inside the company firewall to deliver their sales report for the day.”
She did, however, acknowledge that it’s not always an easy sell. “In some cases customers ring us because they like the idea of it but they’re fearful of the technical implementation. But it’s very simple. We source a piece of hardware that’s a router and a firewall that initiates and terminates the VPN for them.”
She said huge volumes of doctors, architects, freelance graphic designers have taken up the service and are now working out of a room in their homes. The appeal of the offering is assisted by unassailable logic, according to McKeown, who recounts the story of an IT manager who came to them looking for an alternative to spending two and half hours of every day traveling to and from work. “Anything could go wrong in that time so he wanted to be able to log on from home and save the commute. It helps him deliver a netter service to the internal staff he has to facilitate.”
The experience is increasingly familiar and one that suggests people are waking up to broadband after a slow start. With companies of just 30 people it’s not usual for half of them to be enabled to work from home by Netsource. “For a long time the broadband message was being put out there. People were hearing it but not taking onboard what it actually meant,” said McKeown, who believes the sudden uptake can be attributed t a lot of word of mouth. “When you hear of a colleague is doing it you’re prompted to know more. We get an awful lot of calls on that basis.”
By Ian Campbell