Years after businesses and government organizations started rolling out teleworking policies and companies were producing graphics of what the office of the future would look like (cue man/woman sitting in their living room surrounded by Jetson-like gadgets), the remote working debate is still raging.
When Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, banned the company’s employees from home working, it started a veritable Twitter storm. In home working’s defense, Richard Branson declared—no doubt from Necker Island—that Mayer’s move is a “backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever” and that “to successfully work with other people, you have to trust each other”. But hot on the heels of Yahoo, Best Buy stopped its home working program (Results-Only Work Environment), which started in 2005 again provoking a media backlash.
In contrast to this, many companies actually celebrated working from home in the annual ‘Work from Home Week’ in January. According to the Office of National Statistics, there are already about 3.8 million homeworkers in the UK and a recent study has suggested the Treasury could save $23.3 billion (£15 billion) by increasing the number of public sector employees that can work from home. Allowing employees to work from home can save money on office estate and other office overheads, and it provides much needed flexibility for staff. As many companies—including Cisco—have found, home working can also increase productivity.