Everybody’s doing it

Posted on Jul 24, 2003

A recent survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of AT&T predicts that four out of five companies will use remote workers by 2005, compared with only 56% today. The advent of more affordable (and workable) networking technology, combined with a corporate drive toward globalization is making telecommuting a practical option for many companies. As complaints from managers leery of overseeing remote workers have subsided, companies are finding that telecommuters actually deliver more productivity—an average of 60 minutes more a day—than office-based workers. In addition to the productivity boost, businesses also benefit from reductions in their office overhead and rent by allowing employees to work from home. “Teleworking will mean the evolution of the office of the future. The technology behind home working will equally bring benefits for fixed offices, allowing them to upscale and downscale quickly and easily, as well as encouraging the creation of temporary, effective office environments,” says AT&T’s Kevin Harvey.

TELECOMMUTING IS THE NEW 9 TO 5

A recent survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of
AT&T predicts that four out of five companies will use remote workers by
2005, compared with only 56% today. The advent of more affordable (and
workable) networking technology, combined with a corporate drive toward
globalization is making telecommuting a practical option for many
companies. As complaints from managers leery of overseeing remote workers
have subsided, companies are finding that telecommuters actually deliver
more productivity—an average of 60 minutes more a day—than
office-based workers. In addition to the productivity boost, businesses
also benefit from reductions in their office overhead and rent by allowing
employees to work from home. “Teleworking will mean the evolution of the
office of the future. The technology behind home working will equally bring
benefits for fixed offices, allowing them to upscale and downscale quickly
and easily, as well as encouraging the creation of temporary, effective
office environments,” says AT&T’s Kevin Harvey.  (Silicon.com 16 Jul 2003)

Teleworking is the new nine-to-five
Why everyone loves working from home…

Teleworking looks set to become a significant part of modern working life, with the vast majority of companies looking to implement it officially within the next two years, according to the latest research.

A survey, conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by AT&T, questioned senior executives from global businesses about their use of teleworking. The proportion of firms planning to use remote workers will hit 80 per cent by 2005 � compared to only 56 per cent who have teleworkers today.

Teleworking is proving to be a popular choice with both bosses and employees. Employers are welcoming the savings that teleworking brings, including reductions on office overheads and rent, while workers enjoy the better work/life balance that remote working allows.

More affordable, more practical networking technology, combined with the tendency towards globalisation, seem to be putting teleworking on the agenda for industry. More importantly, business seems willing to put its money where its mouth is, with the number of companies willing to subsidise remote access equipment set to double in two years.

Companies are initially put off introducing teleworking, however, because they fear they won’t be able to monitor staff as effectively � a case of ‘out of site, out of mind’.

Kevin Harvey, country manager for AT&T, thinks that is not necessarily the case. “Management often think that they can’t manage if they’re not looking over their employees’ shoulders,” he said. “If you can develop a means to effectively measure productivity, that shouldn’t be a problem.”

While there exists a widely held view that endless cups of tea and the lure of daytime TV make working from home a soft option, 64 per cent of companies see the chief benefit of remote working as an increase in productivity.

As well as a more relaxed working environment, teleworking means staff who aren’t obliged to commute to work spend the beginning and end of their days more productively, giving companies an average of an extra 60 minutes benefit a day.

But there are disadvantages. Separate research from IT assurance company The NCC Group shows one in six home workers are accessing their company networks without sufficient protection. Experts advise businesses carry out regular and thorough risk assessment to address the security threats posed by home workers.

Will teleworking cause the death of the office? AT&T’s Harvey said: “Teleworking will mean the evolution of the office of the future. The technology behind home working will equally bring benefits for fixed offices, allowing them to upscale and downscale quickly and easily, as well as encouraging the creation of temporary, effective office environments.”

CNET Networks, Inc.