In past articles, we have explored the possibility of telecommuting in human services and nonprofit agencies. In this article, we will explore the features that are essential for a successful telecommuting option for human services professionals (as well as benefits to those professionals working in a more traditional setting).
While the missions of human service and non profits might be similar, there are differences in the laws and practices which need to be followed around the country. Software solutions for human service agencies should be able to be customized to meet the needs of each of these agencies. Additionally, there should be a user friendly interface from which information can be easily accessed and organized.
Ease of access
When selecting products such as a software program to manage case files, etc., it is helpful to have a product that is easily accessible from a variety of devices – PC or MAC, iPads or Android tablets or smart phones. The ability to access and manipulate files from a variety of platforms allows for employees to have easy access to their files as well as being able to address emergencies as they arise. With the increasing mobility and accessibility of these devices, a web-based platform is usually the way to go.
Stability and support
When employees work from home, the chance of computer technical support challenges rises significantly. This can be further complicated by the remote nature of the equipment. In a nutshell, the more complex a system is, the bigger chance that there is for some level of failure on some level. This can become extremely frustrating for all. Since most people are not technical support gurus, it is critical to have a resource person who is well trained in the different programs and troubleshooting the various gremlins which surface in the world of technology – usually as a deadline is looming! In the absence of a technical guru, it is important that your human services software company have an active (and helpful) technical support department from whom advice and solutions are easily available.
In closing, it is important that the person responsible with selecting the software product be someone who is familiar with the various needs for your particular agency. It does little good for someone who has never sewn a dress to decide which dress will be sewn. Software products should be able to grow with an agency and meet both their short term and long term needs.