Right down to its core, the way we do business is changing – and technology is playing a large part in how the modern company operates.
Over the last few years, the possibility of allowing employees to work from home without the firm's output suffering has really taken off and the savviest of owners and managers have already been looking at how this shift can benefit them for some time.
The Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei) recently revealed that over 60 per cent of businesses were of the view that in the next five years, around a quarter of their staff would be working from home. To put this into context, four out of five companies currently report that less than ten per cent of their workforce are taking advantage of this trend, which the enei equates to 1.4 million people across the country.
So why is the adoption of remote working set to more than double in the next half a decade?
Believe it or not, many employees say they are better equipped to work from the comfort of their own home.
Research carried out by LondonOffices.com found that 31 per cent of workers said their personal broadband connection was an improvement on the one they had to rely on in the office, while a quarter (26 per cent) also said their own hardware was superior to that supplied to them at work.
If this is truly the case, then the arrangement surely benefits both the business and the people they rely on – with the availability of free conference call facilities ensuring that the link between the office and its staff doesn't have to be disrupted just because some of them aren't regularly based there.
In addition, there are the positive health benefits that remote working can bring. There are countless studies available that claim to prove a link between allowing your workforce to get down to business at home and a reduction in their stress levels.
Leaving the door open
The rise in remote working is also allowing more people to return to business who may previously have felt as though there was no way back in their career for one reason or another.
A prime example is new parents – mothers in particular. Whereas maternity leave would have once perhaps signalled the beginning of the end for staff whose priorities were moving from work life to family life, this is certainly no longer the case.
As more companies realise the benefits of remote working in terms of supporting a healthier balance between the two, there's no reason why having a child should automatically translate to an unwanted period of time out of the game.
So is it possible to take off the tie and still get down to business? Absolutely, it seems. While questions still remain over whether remote working is for everyone – procrastination and unwanted distractions can arguably still prove too much of a temptation for some – it's certainly something which is only heading in one direction.