Friday 12 November 2010

Is home working the way of the future?

There is a strong argument that home working is better for business. The sums do add up in terms of property costs, carbon footprint and utility expenses, to name a few. When I worked in a call centre, particularly on those dark, windy late night shifts when tiredness would attack my eyelids forcing them clamp shut like a steel trap, I used to dream of working from home. Oh that magical euphemism for a duvet day on the sofa, with half an eye on the inbox on the laptop, and a couple of calls on the mobile while waiting for the kettle to boil. The joy of conducting business in a dressing gown; replying to emails from your softest armchair and nobody to tap their watch if you take another half an hour to linger over lunchtime tea and biscuits.

And it seems that those notions are shared by many, including employers. CCI magazine reports this month that some decision makers of small and medium-sized enterprises don't allow their workforce to work from home. Indeed only 23% of senior managers in SMEs allow their staff to work from home all the time, according to research carried out online by YouGov, on behalf of NewVoiceMedia. The majority of respondents in the survey simply stated they needed their staff to be physically on site, 12% didn’t have the technology to enable home working, while 11% honestly said they didn’t trust their staff to do a full day’s work at home.

So now I have my own business, and very often work from home. I can set the record straight about the duvets and daytime telly at last. My hazy dreams were indeed entirely misguided. I turn my computer on by 8.00 while feeding the cats, and within minutes I am absorbed in my work. There is no office banter around the coffee machine, no dawdling around the department in quiet times, no set lunch breaks or chit chat to distract me; it’s complete concentration. If I’m lucky I remember to make a bit of toast sometime around 3pm, eaten while typing with one hand. And perhaps because there’s no commuting, the working day doesn’t end at five o’clock. So I think that employers’ fears may be unfounded. I work longer, harder and with greater concentration at home than I ever could in a busy office or call centre.

New technology has made it possible for businesses of all sizes to introduce flexible telephony solutions that allow staff to work from home, and remain accountable. Cloud-based telephony is perfect for SMEs as there is no need for onsite equipment or ongoing maintenance costs. Managers can effectively monitor staff regardless of their location and have the flexibility to add or remove users as the business demands.

In the survey mentioned above, those who are in favour of allowing staff to work from home believed it increased productivity (60 per cent), motivated staff (60 per cent) and allowed for better relationships with their employees (58 per cent).

Sensée (, the UK’s leading home working specialist, started its first home working agent hub in the North East last month. They are currently recruiting for inbound customer services for a major UK retailer, offering full time positions for home based agents. All that is required is a suitable workspace, PC, landline and broadband access.

If you think working from home could appeal to you, contact Blue Box Recruitment for more information. or call 084 3289 3288

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