Nomis Connections takes a look into the current state of home working in the UK, and how technology is aiding the trend.
The trend of working at home is not a new concept, but it is a growing one.
Nowadays, 48% of employers allow staff to work at home permanently, while 44% of employers allow occasional home working. Only 8% of employers do not allow home working at all – though this is most likely in customer-facing roles.
Is home working the new norm?
For many businesses, it may be. There are financial and efficiency benefits to businesses allowing home working:
- Business owners needn’t invest in large office space, instead opting for a smaller ‘drop in’ workspace
- Businesses can implement concepts such as hotdesking for when employees do visit the office, so colleagues share workspace
- Less travel leads to a lower carbon footprint – promoting a company’s green credentials
Some studies do indicate that home working can be counter-productive, as teamwork is more difficult. There are now technologies, such as video conferencing, that go against this theory; though the effect on efficiency is a topic for each business to consider individually.
How technology helps
Technology has now got to a stage where it can support home workers – connecting them to a single network.
Hosted VoIP systems use their flexible nature aid home working. As a hosted system connects to the cloud, staff can use their phones anywhere by simply plugging the phones into a broadband connection.
The UK government’s target to have the best broadband network in Europe by 2017 is also aiding home workers. As the number of homes with superfast fibre broadband increases, the number that will have a connection fast enough to support hosted VoIP and cloud computing at home will follow.
Mobiles permit both home and flexible working, and with the Horizon smartphone app and the mobile twinning service our VoIP system offers, staff can ensure they’re in contact wherever they go, and never miss a call.
The continued improvement of 3G, and roll-out of 4G networks also aid home and mobile workers, delivering information on the go.
Video Conferencing used to be an expensive technology to implement. These days, this is no longer the case.
Hosted video conferencing solutions are now available from a simple monthly cost. With these services, home workers get a seat in the conference room and can interact with colleagues across the globe without excessive travel costs.
From an IT perspective, cloud computing is a powerful aid to both office and home workers. The flexibility of accessing information wherever you are means workers are no longer fixed to a single location.
What does the future of home working hold?
Home working is here to stay; the efficiency and cost benefits are too apparent for many businesses to ignore, and modern technology makes the practice possible. Thanks to this, it’s likely that we’ll see the number of businesses allowing occasional or permanent homeworking increase.
This isn’t to say that office working will cease. Many businesses will still want, and need, a central base. For other businesses, such as those in retail, home working simply isn’t feasible.
The decision to implement a home-working policy, and to what end, remains the choice of businesses on an individual basis, though we would advise that decision makers speak with a telecoms expert about how to support your home workers fully.
If we can help you in your decision making process please contact us.