RISING costs of office space, time lost to stressful commuting, and a dawning recognition that workers have lives beyond the office – all are strong arguments for letting staff work from home.
But businesses can also reap rewards from the tele-working option – research has shown that staff are more productive, and happier, enabling firms to retain their staff for longer periods of time and keep recruitment costs to a minimum.
While company managers have long acknowledged the benefits, many have been concerned that their staff might not work well without supervision, or that problems will arise if employees start to charge private calls to the company account.
Yet this is now changing as public sector bodies including local authorities start to follow larger private firms such as travel companies and actively encourage this very workable option.
Technology is of course making things more palatable to employers. Broadband means that staff can access high speed links to their office networks, email large files without the need to print copies for the boss’s attention, and access all the information they need to do their jobs at the touch of a button.
Sophisticated voice services can now be used by the remote worker – facilities such as voicemail and call forwarding, which provide a seamless link between the home-worker and the traditional office. The company image is maintained with this new technology, so customers can’t tell if they’re connecting to a semi in Sunderland or a high tech call centre in Newcastle.
Voice over IP (Internet Protocol) technology means that once the home-worker is logged on to the company’s system, inputted data can be transferred to the head office database, bookings can be made or information gathered.
Employers are in a win, win situation if they decide to offer the home-working option to more employees
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