Feeds

Save Money and Enjoy Life

Hanging with the Homies

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Home working is not new but a recent survey by the Economist Intelligence Group for AT&T indicates organisations expect much more home working in the future, writes Martin Langham of Bloor Research.

As the survey puts it, "Its time has come". A global survey of 237 senior executives showed that a bare majority of employees are expected to work from the main office by 2005. Full time telecommuters now make up 6% of US employment and in Western Europe the number of telecommuters is expected to double to 8.7M by 2005.

There are three reasons why growth is happening now. Firstly, virtual teams are being increasingly used to support distributed global organisations. Secondly, we are all increasingly comfortable with working electronically using email, instant messaging and shared workspaces. Thirdly, improvements in the price, performance and ease of use of teleworking tools make it feasible to provide every member of staff with a rich set of tools that can do the job.

Of course, teleworking won't happen unless people accept new ways of working. Companies may feel that a home-based work force won't sustain the culture they rightly cherish. Not everyone wants to work at home; younger employees value the social aspects of work highly and often don't have a pleasant work environment at home. People need a rich set of communications tools so that they feel "in touch" but you can't expect people to stay motivated if they never meet in person. Most teleworking companies have regular in-person meetings and these are very popular. The watchword is flexibility - allowing people to work how and where they perform best.

Management sometimes resists home working because they believe there is too much temptation to bunk off. In one organisation, managers used instant messaging to detect whether people were logged on at home. This may be a bit extreme. Managers have to learn how to control a distributed workforce by managing by results rather than by managing their time. This is a necessary skill in any distributed organisation.

I can give you a personal example of the sort of benefits that can come from home working. Management consultants rarely need an office desk as most of the time they are either at the client or working independently. A few years ago, a consulting company I worked for was all set to invest in a brand new headquarters to accommodate two merged consultancies. Calculations showed that if we moved to hot desking and only provided enough desks for the people actually in the office, we could use one of the existing offices with a saving of £350,000 a year. The International Telework Association and Council (ITAC) reports that, on any given day, 50 to 70 per cent of all office space is unoccupied - wasting up to $10,000 a year per workspace.

Workspace savings can be hard to realise because it's hard to downsize a building. A more immediate benefit stems from managing the work-life balance. Work-life balance legislation came into force in the UK on April 6th this year and asked employers "to seriously consider" an employee's request for flexible working - especially where they have children of junior school age or with disabilities. In a poll of 4,000 jobseekers to support the DTI's campaign for a better work-life balance, the recruitment web site www.Reed.co.uk found that 46 percent of respondents choose flexible working as the benefit they would value most - well ahead of any other perk.

The company benefit of teleworking is improved efficiency. First, there is the saving in travel time. Any meeting with vendors that I carry out by teleconference saves me a minimum of two hours and usually much more. Managers have to discipline themselves to set clear goals and measurable outcomes for teleworking employees rather than acting as timekeepers. This in itself improves productivity. People work better if they have not been subjected to the tender ministrations of Network Rail or the motorway and they can be more effective at home without the many distractions of the office.

If you are still not convinced, then there is the security argument. If the proverbial plane hits the office, you have a lot more chance of getting back on your feet if your staff can work at home.

Even if the company decides that home working doesn't fit into its culture, it is going to be hard to resist. All companies are going to make increased use of audio and video conferencing to reach partners and mobile workers. It's going to be very hard to differentiate between this type of remote working and home working. After all, how many other ways are there to reduce costs and increase the morale of staff at the same time?

© IT-Analysis.com

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Nokia offers 'voluntary retirement' to 6,000+ Indian employees
India's 'predictability and stability' cited as mobe-maker's tax payment deadline nears
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Analysts: Bright future for smartphones, tablets, wearables
There's plenty of good money to be made if you stay out of the PC market
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.