As more and more businesses are looking for ways to improve the performance of their employees, one thing that staff seem to be looking for more and more from their employers is approval to work remotely. While I'm sure this is a result of the improved capabilities that the computing world now offers (ie: faster computers, better remote control tools, increased bandwidth of our home internet connections, etc.), I believe it has more to do with the ever changing climate of business in general. Ten years ago, most of our clients wore suits and ties. Now, I'd say the percentage of businesses who are this "formal" are down to less than 10%. Ten years ago, most of clients wouldn't think about allowing access to "their" information outside the perimeter of their office walls. Now, most everyone allows business email on their smartphones. As our dependence on computers in our every day lives continues to grow, the line between work and play gets ever more blurred. So, the next logical outcome of this is the increased role of telecommuting in the workplace.
Recently, Harris Interactive performed a survey and found that 17 percent of respondents would give up a salary increase and 15 percent would give up half of their vacation days if they were able to telecommute. Beyond the silly stats that 12 percent would give up showers and 5 percent would give up their spouse (really? I would think this 5 percent would WANT to go to the office!), there are some other interesting numbers - 25 percent would give up their smart phones and 30 percent said they'd give up texting. Now, I'm not sure how statistically valid this really is nor how accurate it would be AFTER the respondents were given the ability to telecommute. But, to me, this clearly says that this is something that a lot of people really want. And, I think more importantly, the real message here is that employees are looking for more and more flexibility to get their jobs done as easily and efficiently as possible. And this is always where technology, when done right, adds value.