Teleworking from Home

 By: Diana S
Working from home is seen to be both employee friendly and employer friendly by many successful businesses. It also increases the recruiting potential of companies as their employees can be based anywhere in the entire country.

The growth in teleworking can be accredited to many factors, including rapid advances in technology and telecomm and a shortage of skills in industries such as IT and investment banking. Today, the resources available at home were previously only available at the office. Home computers and multifunction devices have made this possible. These technologies allow people to work from home just as if they were working from office.

Flexible Steel, a company in Glossop Derbyshire, had to close shop and relocate to a new site in Bradford 50 miles away. The managing director of the company, Matthew Mayers wanted to ensure certain key personnel continued to stay on with the company without having to relocate. The answer to this lay in setting up a local area network (LAN) at their Bradford site. This was combined with a virtual private network (VPN) to the homes of the eight staff that Mayers required to keep on. A wireless LAN ensured that people could connect to the Internet via their laptops anywhere on the worksite. It also enabled the warehouse manager to use a wireless enabled handset to manage stock inventory and consignments. The implementation of these technologies ensured that these key staff members spent 50% of their time away from office without hampering office work.

Flexible Steel is not the only company to encourage such flexible working practices. Telecom giant BT was one of the pioneers in setting up such practices and embraces flexible workings by allowing workers to work from home, job sharing, and part-time positions. Seventy percent of the entire company's work force is under the flexible umbrella with 12% working entirely from home. It was also observed that workers who work from home are 15% more efficient than those who work in the office.

People who work from home often find working in the office harder after a while. Offices appear to be noisy and a lot of time is wasted doing things that are not of prior importance. Doing individual work becomes easier when working at home, though such employees agree that sitting with a person to resolve issues is faster than just communication via email or phone.

Time and attendance software helps to benchmark the effectiveness of the worker at home. However, companies such as IGF do not find any need to use such software. Managers are usually very comfortable with their staff working from home as honesty and trust is of great emphasis here. If the staff doesn't perform up to standards, it is eventually noticed even without such software. Allowing employees to work from home ensures that the company saves on energy consumption and is more environment-friendly.
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