Why it couldn’t be easier to work from home in today’s technological world
In a world that is growing ever more connected, and ever more environmentally conscious, the ability to work at home is hugely beneficial for both the individual employee, and the business. Advances in technologies such as broadband internet, smart phones and cloud computing mean that many jobs can now be done effectively outside of traditional workplaces. This has resulted in a significant increase in the number of UK employees who work from home (with the total standing at over 4 million people just 3 years ago) and that number expected to increase exponentially over the next few years. As more and more companies shift towards flexible working policies, it seems that office will soon become a thing of the past- or, at the very least, will need to be reimagined.
New technologies that enable us to work from home.
Only a few short years ago, employees had to be in office in order to do their jobs. Then the internet came into existence. These days, thanks to several other emerging technologies, it’s now easier than ever to do your job successfully (and in some cases, if the research into the link between moral and productivity from working at home is to be believed, [https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/the-benefits-of-working-from-home] even more productively) from the comforts of your own living room. As long as employees have a work email account and a functioning internet connection, the have almost unlimited access to their work outside of the increasingly restrictive 9-5 routine. So, what advancements has the working environment witnessed in recent years?
MiFi (My WiFi) is wireless broadband internet, in your pocket. The devices are small, wireless devices that let multiple users and mobile devices share a mobile broadband internet connection, and can be yours for a monthly contract fee or even as pay as you go. This has huge benefits for on-the-go remote workers. No longer are you confined to your living room (though working in your pyjamas does have abundant benefits!) and going out – to a coffee shop, the park, even a friends house -no longer carries the same risks from unreliable 3G or 4G network coverage. Even better, MiFi devices can connect up to 10 devices at a time (provided they’re in a 10 metre radius) so you can enjoy constant connectivity for your laptop, tablet, mobile and work phone, all at the same time. MiFi is still in its early days, but as it gains popularity and more and more remote workers seek it’s benefits, it’s likely the range capacity will extend.
As of March 2017, there were 2.8 million applications available on Google Play – with Apple running second, offering 2.2 million. Currently, the two largest global platforms for app distribution are Apple’s App Store, which caters to iOS users, and Google Play, belonging to the eponymous company, which is the official app store for the Android OS. There’s now an app for everything – and there’s so many remote workers can use to their advantage.
Now you can host Live Meetings and Video Chats in your kitchen, with colleagues halfway across the world. Just make sure potential new clients don’t get a glimpse of your Hello Kitty PJs whilst you’re talking up the merits of your company!
There’s apps for tracking company progress, managing projects, allocating tasks, development, design, even simple places where your team can chat and bounce ideas off of one another. No more waiting for 9am when inspiration strikes on a Wednesday evening- your team is right there, a few clicks away.
3. Cloud-based Resources
Cloud computing allows users and enterprises to store and process data; either in a privately-owned cloud, or on a third-party server. As cloud resources have improved and become more accessible, so have the alternative working environments that rely on them- by turning to a cloud-based system of workforce management, companies allow their workers to work freely- and remotely- whilst managers can still keep tabs on their productivity. Cloud devices such as Box, Google Drive and Dropbox are fantastic tools that allow workers to share and access word files and presentations, and update spreadsheets and documents, all without ever having to be in the same room – or even the same country.
In a nutshell, office work is fast becoming obsolete.
24/7 connectivity is eroding the boundaries between private and working life – but not in the negative way we have assumed a decade ago. As time goes on, it’s becoming more and more evident that, in order for companies to profit from their employees, they need to be granting more flexibility- not harnessing them into a regimented 9-5 routine. Investing a little trust in their workers saves them far more in the long run. Reduced carbon emissions from the decreased amount of commuters, less money spent on regulation buildings and facilities, reduced absenteeism and greater productivity out of office hours, and generally greater moral- to name just a few pros! As we edge our way closer to 2018, we are beginning to realise that the remote working game is not just for bored housewives, young mothers, or those that just can’t hold down a ‘stable’ job. In fact, it’s very much becoming the legitimate future of modern employment.
There are, of course, vulnerabilities to a remote working model, and many people have expressed concerns over privacy, cyber-security, as well as the vulnerability of the system to hacking or identity theft. When you host a virtual business via the big, scary worldwide web, there’s no denying there are risks- however, before you give up on the idea completely, remember the benefits we’ve touched on, and also give this helpful article on how keep your business safe when employees work from home.
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