The rise of the home worker

It’s safe to say that flexible working policies in business are on the increase.

According to research conducted by the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei), over 60 per cent of companies believe that at least a quarter of their workforce will be taking advantage of mobile working technology over the next five years.

The same enei study estimates that there are 1.4 million home workers in the UK at the moment – with that number only likely to increase as time goes on.

Furthermore, a study led by Office Angels revealed that most people would actually choose to leave their current position if it didn’t offer the option to work flexibly, with 59 per cent of respondents saying that the option to choose where or when they did their job was greatly important to them.

So, as far as 2014 is concerned, how will this growing trend affect workforces across the country?

Good for employees, good for business

For a start, workers are likely to spend less time in the office. The benefits of this alone can be quite far-reaching for employees – with the prospect of them spending less time and money on the daily commute just one of the reasons why this shift is likely to be popular.

From a financial point of view for both staff and management, this makes sense – workers keep hold of more of their pay that would normally go towards travel expenses, while the company itself will make a long-term saving on energy costs and potentially office space.

Another positive aspect of home working is that it gives staff a better chance at achieving a good home/work balance. Going back to the earlier enei research, many businesses have already seen a rise in staff satisfaction levels as a result of introducing flexible working policies.

This can be linked to another study conducted by the Institute of Leadership & Management, which found that getting staff to enjoy the job they were doing was the most effective way of raising productivity levels.

The statistics put together a clear case as to why home working can have a positive influence for both employers and employees.

Future developments

Going forward, it seems as though the wider business community is already embracing the prospect of seeing more people adopting a more flexible approach to their work.

Plans have already been mooted over the potential launch of three or four-day travelcards for commuters who aren’t planning on making the trek into work every day, while more companies are taking note of how teleconferencing services can aid them in how they go about their business.

Keeping staff connected to the office is no longer an issue thanks to developments and increased adoption rates of cloud computing technology. This, coupled with conference call facilities, means that workers won’t only miss out on regular meetings held on-site, but they will also be able to participate in sessions that they may previously have had to spend hours on a train to get to.