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Homeworking can deliver business benefits

Businesses and individuals can benefit from allowing employees to work from home on either a permanent or temporary basis.

Writing for City AM, Will Freeman remarked on the fact that technology and developments have broken down the distance barrier when it comes to work, enabling firms to reap the benefits of flexibility. While noting that not every business is suited to homeworking, he flagged up BT as a successful example.

The communications firm has encouraged flexible working solutions for years and now has around 13,000 homeworkers and a further 70,000 staff who have the facility to work from home should they be required. According to the company, those employees who work from home actually get more done, with an increased level of productivity of around 20 per cent recorded along with lower levels of sick leave.

However, it takes a shift in attitude from management level before flexible working can be successfully implemented within an organisation. BT found that some managers struggled to manage when they couldn’t see their team, they often worried that the individuals at home might not be pulling their full weight. Others were worried about effective communication, questioning the lack of face-to-face contact.

But with some effort and an open mind, these issues can be quite easily overcome with technology such as instant messaging and video conferencing and, ultimately, flexible working practices can deliver improvements for the company.

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