Thanks to low cost of personal computers and the ubiquity of the Internet, it’s now practical for a wide range of employees to work from home. If the bulk of your job includes answering calls or emails, creating documents, or writing computer programs, does it really make sense for you to give up a large chunk of your day to a stressful commute, when you could do your job from any location with a power outlet and a mobile signal?
Knowledge Workers Can Work Anywhere
Remote working is perfect for the group that can be classed as “knowledge workers”. In fact, many knowledge workers are more productive when they aren’t in an office environment. Let’s face it, the daily commute is stressful and tiring, and offices aren’t exactly comfortable places. Standard office chairs, and even IT equipment for that matter, often doesn’t measure up to the plush, comfortable gear you have at home. In addition, getting into a good, productive work rhythm is a lot easier at home where it’s nice and quiet. If you go to the office, you’ll have colleagues distracting you with banter, unimportant questions, and general grousing about how they’d rather be at home watching the tennis.
If there’s one downside to remote working, it’s that not all contact with colleagues is an unnecessary distraction. If you’re working on a major project as a part of a team, then you will need to co-ordinate your work with that of your colleagues. Fortunately, IP telephony makes that pretty easy to do. There was a time when remote working meant huge phone bills and expensive data connections, but now that unmetered ISPs are the norm, and IP telephony is an effective replacement for the land line, it’s easy to stay in touch with colleagues even if they’re in a different city.
From the point of view of the easily-distracted office worker, IP telephony is a good compromise. Most people aren’t likely to Skype a colleague to complain about the flavour of ice cream in the canteen, but they will use the tools available to them if they need to ask important questions.
Working From Home as a Benefit
For many employees, remote working is viewed as a big benefit. Not only does it save them a lot of time by removing the need for a long commute, it also saves them money, and allows them a little more flexibility in terms of the hours they work. They will still need to be available during office hours, but they could always start work a little earlier, and take longer breaks to do the school run, or dash out to pay a few bills.
The cost to the company for providing remote working options is minimal. You may need to upgrade your VPN, and invest in an IP telephony package, but you could save on office space by doing a desk share programme, and many employees, given the option between a pay rise or the chance to work from home, would see more value in working from home.