I am a big fan of case studies. Even the most overtly promotional ones generally offer enough valuable tips on how companies handle real-life business situations to make them worthwhile.
I recently found an especially well-done case study in CIO.com on how one company, New Jersey software provider Chorus, shuttered two offices and sent all 35 of its employees and full-time consultants to work at home, a move the CEO says should save Chorus $400,000 a year.
This article caught my eye, as I've written several recent posts on telecommuting myself, and IT Business Edge recently published several interesting interviews on the topic.
My only (minor) criticism is that it's a long piece. But CIO.com deals with that by dividing it into three logical installments, each packed with plenty of real-world advice from Chorus executives.
The first piece focuses on technology challenges and how Chorus dealt with them. There were a few early glitches with the company's VoIP system, including how to set it up so that employees in Texas and New Jersey could call each other using four-digit access codes, but IT staffers were able to solve them fairly easily. The coolest tip: Chorus established a dedicated extension for each of four"hunt" groups so employees can quickly and easily reach other employees from different business areas.
The second article focuses on creating policies for the newly virtual company. Some highlights: All employees must have a dedicated area at home specifically devoted to work activities. Chorus provides all needed gear, up to and including items such as paper shredders. All employees are required to use instant messaging. The article also relates how Chorus provides effective remote tech support.
The final installment discusses how Chorus dealt with the transition to a virtual environment. Key takeaways: Chorus issues a daily compilation of all of the projects, both internal and external, that different teams are working on. Some teams conduct daily meetings, by phone or WebEx. Managers communicate regularly with team members and discuss some non-business topics to maintain camaraderie.