In today’s 24/7 digital economy, it’s hard to believe that just a decade ago many organizations were still trying to establish how – or even if – they could deploy email in their offices. Now, thanks to the mass adoption of high-speed communications and advances in hardware and software, the office can be wherever your Internet connection and laptop/smartphone/tablet device is.

However, with this change comes a new set of challenges for the modern workforce. When do you switch between personal time and work? How do you ensure that you remain productive and motivated? How do you cope with the onset of cabin fever? What are the security issues?


Let’s start with the issue that strikes fear into the IT manager’s heart: security. A recent study conducted by Vanson Bourne and TNS discovered that almost nine in 10 UK IT managers fear the security risks caused by remote working practices. As laptops/smartphones/tablets holding company data venture beyond the office walls, this concern is hardly surprising. Add to this the fact that employees may take paperwork and USB sticks home to access the information they need and you can understand why management and IT teams worldwide break into a cold sweat at the mention of a remote workforce. Intel’s Billion Dollar Lost Laptop Study revealed that 329 U.S. businesses had collectively lost more than 86,000 laptops, worth $2.1 billion. For freelancers, the cost of losing their laptop or smartphone is not just the cost of replacing the device but the loss of trust from clients, which can be devastating.

Note: This excerpt is from a blog post that I originally wrote for GigaOm’s Web Worker Daily in February. To read the post in full, please go to Web Worker Daily (

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