Upwardly Mobile: There's no workplace like home

Just how hard is it?

Just how hard is it?

Working from home is good for people and good for the planet. But how easy is it for a team to collaborate while everyone's out of the office? Jo Best explains how silicon.com will put this idea to the test.

My most recent Upwardly Mobile column dealt with environmental issues and how the big mobile operators and handset manufacturers are doing their bit - or otherwise - in 'greening' their business. But are you doing your bit?

It's easier than you think to be mobile and green. A study out this week from Oxford University shows that flexible working and working from home (WFH for the uninitiated) is one way to help cut carbon emissions.

Anyone who has the privilege of working from home will not only testify to their greenness - less travel means less carbon - but also improved work-life balance and flexibility. Some research even found higher happiness levels among home workers.

And for all the bosses out there tut-tutting at the thought of employees 'skiving' away at home, WFH can bring about potentially increased productivity and certainly lower overheads.

Sounds like a win-win, doesn't it? You'd think we'd all be falling over ourselves to work in our dressing gowns but apparently that's not the case. According to recent statistics, three million of us now telework but the rate of uptake has been slow.

So what's gone wrong? Why aren't more of us enjoying the benefits of homeworking? Surely, every large company should have the infrastructure in place for its employees to WFH from a business continuity point of view. If the office is damaged by fire, terrorism or for any number of reasons and is out of action, teleworking allows a company to stay in business.

But just how easy is that scenario? For non-techies, it's not always easy to master the technology needed to work from home. Just because take-up of faster broadband, mobile email, VoIP and IM has rocketed, doesn't mean these techs are easy to use.

So just how easy is it for a whole office to work from home? Friday will see silicon.com grasp the nettle and work remotely. Each team member will need to carry out their jobs either from home or out on the road. It's not an exercise we've attempted before and we'll be bringing you a report on how the experiment went, warts and all.

Are you a regular remote worker? Send your tips and experiences to editorial@silicon.com.


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