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The importance of remote working

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At the turn of the New Year, an increasingly flexible workforce was poised to be 2013’s greatest technological advancement. With Fixed Mobile Convergence and Unified Communications technology improving, and hosted IP telephony gaining traction within SMEs, the ability to work from home, while integrating seamlessly with office-bound peers, looked set to improve efficiency of business communications while also saving on expenses such as travel costs. It is amidst much outrage, then, that Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! Inc, has this week banned working from home within her organisation.

Remote working boasts a number of business benefits. Taking a business trip to a different site need not mean going radio-silent. An outage onsite, affecting the ability of staff to get to their desks, need not mean a loss of profit. Travel costs are saved for those living in distant locations. Communication is improved. Your business is improved. It is unsurprising, then, that Mayer’s decision has been met with disdain from industry leaders.

Remote working businessmanShe cites her reasoning as a, ‘need to be working side-by-side.’ But the physical presence of a colleague does not need to be the deciding factor in operational productivity. FMC removes the distinction between fixed office phones and mobile devices, meaning that workers on-the-go are just as accessible, by email or phone, as they would be if they were sat across the office. Not only does this mobile IP telephony solution offer the same line quality, it also allows staff to be more efficient in their business dealings, able to keep up with all sites from any location. As well as this, Unified Communications solutions use HD video conferencing and online presence to replace face-to-face meetings and conferences. And there are residual benefits too, like improving business continuity within organisations, all of which begs the question: In an increasingly mobile generation, why would Yahoo! take a step backwards?

It is unlikely that Mayer’s decision will have the desired effect. It has already been reported that employees are disgruntled, and employee dissatisfaction probably won’t increase efficiency of business transactions. But it is important that others, who may be interested in her story, remember the technology the industry has strived to create to promote remote working, and the plethora of benefits it can bring when deployed correctly.

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