There is a growing trend in the USA and in the UK for people to work from home. A friend in London works for a top UK television channel, and due to the nature of the work, she has to start at 4am. After an hour or so she has finished and doesn't have anything more to do until much later on. Obviously there is no point in getting her to go all the way to the office, which is quite a commute at ridiculous hours in the morning, if she is just going to sit at a PC and do her stuff. So she works from home. Gets up early has a cup of coffee and does whatever it is she needs to do without wasting hours driving or getting the tube.
There are a number of benefits (taken from UK BusinessLink website
* improved retention of employees, eg home working can help retain working parents with childcare responsibilities
* a wider pool of applicants from which to recruit, eg disabled people who may prefer to work from home
* possible productivity gains through staff having fewer interruptions and less commuting time
* increased staff motivation with reduced stress and sickness levels
* savings on office space and other facilities
* possible location of sales staff near clients rather than being based in your premises
At the same time it is scary for a business owner to think his employees are in their pijamas playing the Wii instead of hard at work in the office! Obviously there are loads of great tools that can help to make everything easier. Here are some of the best:
- Dropbox - online hard drive where everyone can share data
- Google Docs - Online Office documents
- Skype - Now with multiple video conferencing
- GotoMeeting - online conferencing
- GotoMyPC - remote PC access
One company that have really taken this to heart are Citrix Online, a hugely successful US based operation. Read more here: http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/feb2011/sb20110215_286886.htm
Also read: Why its Ok to let my staff work from home.
Please post your comments below.