META Group, Inc. research indicates that full-time telecommuters (those who have no workplace other than a home office) have doubled in number since 2000. Add to this teleworkers who spend more than 50 percent of their time working outside an office, and the number becomes staggering. Enterprises that ensure these workers are provided with appropriate tools and support are able to continue business as usual regardless of circumstance.

"Enterprises must establish guidelines for telecommuters traversing the remote site (home office) and for accommodations while within corporate premises. This strategy will ensure business continuity regardless of physical location," said Elizabeth Ussher, vice president with META Group's Technology Research Services. "Teleworkers in many industries (e.g., high tech, finance, sales) have become an integral part of the workforce their demands are increasingly seen as legitimate and taken into consideration when crafting an IT strategy."

Teleworking policies continue to change as cultures and technologies mature, providing the framework for expansion from the traveling salesperson to the enterprise knowledge worker. Currently, more than 90 percent of enterprises use dial-up services to support such workers. However, functionality requirements for knowledge workers include the ability to access all relevant corporate and customer information, which demands reliable broadband access via cable modems, DSL and other always-on Internet solutions for the remote workstation portfolio.

"By 2004, 40 percent of Global 2000 (G2000) companies will have an always- on broadband services policy that encompasses acceptable use, sourcing, payment/reimbursement, and service-level expectations (to include required quality of service for VoIP) for small, fixed remote sites and teleworkers. By 2006, 60 percent of G2000 organizations will have adopted such technology policies," added Ussher. "Among the reasons enterprises are considering convergence (e.g., voice, data, video) are remote access by telecommuters to telephony features (including voice mail and station-to-station dialing) and access to non-telephony applications (e.g., corporate applications), underlining the need for an enterprise-wide telecommuting strategy to include support."

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