12.5.09

Extreme Homeworking


In case you didn’t know this week is Work Wise Week, the fourth such annual effort to get firms to act more flexibly in the way they operate.

I’ve been lucky enough in recent years to work at a progressive firm (Rainier PR, now Speed Communications), which actively promoted remote working and enabled it through laptop provision, home office broadband contributions and Internet-ready phones. We operated – as our clients expected – efficiently. No “sorry, I’m on a train, I’ll look at your email when I’m back in the office” excuses, which has no place in modern PR (or any industry, frankly).

For the last few months (alas, ending at the end of June) you could say I’ve been experimenting with ‘extreme homeworking’ – living in Valencia where my office is, in the cooler times of day, a roof terrace [pictured]. All you need is a phone and Internet connection and you ARE an office.

That’s the luxury of being freelance, I guess, but allowing some form of remote working is a prudent move for companies of any size for numerous reasons:

- Employee morale – especially for workers with children
- Productivity – e.g. people can work from home while waiting for the gas man or if they’re not too sick to work but couldn’t face the commute
- Service – you’re always available in work hours, wherever you are. It makes you look good/effective
- Reduced overheads – less power and real estate costs through hotdesking – great!

Just make sure you have the bandwidth, policy and remote security in place, plus make sure you’re using efficiency tools such as GoToMyPC to allow IT to deal with any remote tech issues, or Doodle to schedule meetings.

I could go on and, yes, I know, there are people out there who will argue that some employees might see homeworking as a day off but they would be found out pretty quick and dealt with, as you don’t really want someone so unprofessional working for you anyway.

I just think that two hours at home, mentally fresh and ready to work, is a better way to spend your time than on a train/tube/bus with the rest of the world hemmed in like a sardine while your blood levels rise.

2 comments:

  1. do you not miss the banter though? I don't think anyone would argue that you can get more done working from home - but where is the social interaction?

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  2. Chris - Great post. And thanks for the mention. Paul's right that you miss out on the social stuff if you're not in the office, but Twitter and IM are good foils. Line management and anything that needs face to face contact, but a balance of office life and occasional home working can be in be incredibly productive.

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