According to a new piece online at Federal Computer Week by researcher Ted Schadler, the growing trend of regular employees' working from home should not worry organizations and businesses willing to look toward the future.
Why? Advances in technology and communication are ensuring that people are able to stay productive even when they're not sitting at a desk. Schadler says that organizations, both government and private, can even gain workforce productivity by encouraging the smart adoption of technologies.
He has a point, although there are repercussions for individual workers that should also be taken into account.
The article correctly points to high speed internet access, smartphones, tablet computers, and communication software as technologies that can facilitate a better connected and more committed workforce. He talks about a 'work-anywhere future' in which flexible workspace will become not just an interesting experiment but a new standard.
The use of virtual teams has already revolutionized a number tech-heavy businesses, from software development firms to graphics and web design companies. The fact that many aspects of these services utilize international outsourced teams only contributes to this sea change. Effective time-tracking and project management solutions (compared here) have made the situation painless in many ways, and there's definitely a bright future in web-based collaboration.
But it's not for everyone. While some workers are able to flourish under more flexible conditions (and, as the article suggests, actually become more committed employees), some people need the structure of a normal workspace.
Time management becomes absolutely essential at this point, and many workers may find themselves exhausted or distracted by home life and the information overload that can come with working on the web.
The business world is definitely ready for a change. The technology and the resources are already in place. But organizations must gauge worker readiness, and incorporate a comprehensive time management strategy to help the transitions go as smoothly as possible.