In a recent poll conducted by OnePoll it was revealed that the average commuting time for a British worker is 49 minutes each way and those in East Anglia report the highest travel times, with a daily average commute of two hours and 25 minutes!
Although for most workers, travel time is not included as part of the working day as far as their employer is concerned, companies must take these figures seriously, as commuting can have a serious impact on their workforce. Overcrowding on trains, inconsiderate passengers, cost and inconsistent service are all daily challenges faced by many commuters that serve to impact how much they enjoy their job.
So it is no wonder that companies are introducing home and remote working for many of their employers and with advances in technology over recent years, this is becoming an increasingly plausible solution.
To begin with WiFi coverage across the country is improving daily so workers never need to worry about their connectivity to the office. There was a time when connecting to WiFi in public places involved a fee and signing up, but no more; most public buildings such as hotels, coffee shops, service stations, coffee shops, etc offer free WiFi as standard. Furthermore, it used to be necessary to go into work to make expensive international calls or upload large files, but with tools such as Skype, DropBox and WeTransfer, workers are no longer dependent on a large commercial server to make this possible. The cost of devices has also come down, meaning companies can afford to offer workers the tech hardware for a home office as well as a desk at company HQ and of course, remote working also relieves pressure on companies for large offices to house multiple workers thus reducing overheads and running costs.
The way we work is also changing and serving to make remote working much simpler. Many companies have moved away from having their own server, preferring instead Cloud storage, meaning files are accessible anywhere in the world. And with a move towards paper-free environments, this means that workers can access from the Cloud as easily from home as they can from work.
Ultimately, however, the biggest shift to facilitate remote working is less technical and more cultural. Companies need to develop a culture of performance through trust rather than performance being judged by presence in the office. For those companies that can embrace this, remote working is definitely a realistic option in today’s work environment.