Technology is at the heart of the vast majority of forward-thinking companies. They use it to sell services and products, produce publicity material and, most importantly of all, to communicate. Thanks to developments such as video conferencing, email and instant messaging, remote working (working from home) has been made easier than ever, but not all companies are keen on the idea.
Missing a trick?
Recently, internet giant Yahoo’s! new chief executive Marissa Mayer decided to ban all their employees from working at home. Given the industry they work in and that they have some of the tools available to make remote working a possibility, their decision comes as a bit of a shock.
Unsurprisingly, Yahoo’s move to prohibit their employees from working outside the office came in for more than a little criticism. Even though they stated that they feel remote working adversely affects productivity and quality of work, some leading figures in industry said that Yahoo’s decision was a poor one.
Pros and cons
Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire face of Virgin, said that with technology moving on at a rapid pace, it made sense to allow workers to do their jobs from the comfort of their own homes. The international communications specialist Powwownow.co.uk commented too on their website:
“Yahoo’s decision flies in the face of logic. They should realise that remote working makes perfect sense for business, especially given the advancements made in communicative technology. Many of Yahoo’s peers will have adopted remote working, and they could gain a significant advantage by doing so.”
One criticism levelled at remote working is that the social aspect of working is lost if someone’s doing their job alone at home. Google sided with Yahoo when it came to this issue; they said that sharing ideas over lunch or in the office would become a thing of the past.
Nevertheless, remote working is a concept that more and more firms are warming to. Research by the CBI revealed that 59% of British businesses allowed their employees to work from home. More companies in the US are open to the idea too, and this trend is likely to be repeated in other developed countries with a strong internet network.
What are the benefits?
Remote working is being taken up by a growing number of businesses. Here are some of the main reasons why this is the case:
- Reduced running costs for businesses in terms of electricity, equipment and office space
- Time saved by the employee in getting to and from the office
- Flexible hours – ideal for major projects or workers with children
- Money saved on travel costs by employees
- Businesses are able to recruit better staff from different parts of the country