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Evaluation of an organization's IT infrastructure and the connectivity requirements of teleworkers is an important step in the telework program planning process. Working in collaboration with other members of the planning team, develop a realistic estimate of the number of teleworkers the organization expects to have in place over a period of time, as well as the types of work that will be done remotely (whether from a home-based office or a telework center of some sort). With this information in hand, evaluate what, if any, enhancements will need to be made to network bandwidth and infrastructure, and make recommendations on the connectivity requirements for individual teleworkers or functions that will be performed remotely.

Network Bandwidth & Infrastructure: If the organization has a computer network in place that will be accessed remotely by teleworkers, evaluate network scalability. Some questions to consider include:

  • Will there be growth in the uploading or downloading of large files over the network? If yes, can the current network scale to accommodate?
  • Can the network scale to accommodate remote access to applications if necessary?
  • If remote access to the network and network resources is not available or slow, will productivity be impacted?
  • If additional bandwidth is required, what options are available in your location, how much will it cost, and how quickly can it be put into place?
  • If additional network infrastructure is required, how much will it cost, do you have the skills in-house to put it in place,and how quickly can this happen?

Teleworker Connectivity: If teleworkers need to access the Internet to perform work from home, it may be necessary to develop recommendations on the type of connectivity they need. In some cases, such as when teleworkers only need very minimal access to email and have no need to send or receive large files, or do intensive web-base work, a dial-up connection may suffice.

When employees apply for telework, be sure to evaluate their connectivity requirements. For those that require broadband connectivity to perform their work confirm that they either have such a connection in place or can get it. Broadband connectivity, whether fiber-based, DSL, cable or satellite, is not necessarily available in all locations. Don't forget that the telework policy should address whether Internet and other telcom services will be paid by the teleworker or reimbursed by the employer.

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This page was last updated on June 5, 2009