2014 has not been kind to Britain's workforce. Following the wettest January on record which led to wide scale road and rail closures, commuters face yet more misery in the coming weeks as the wet weather and flooding show no sign of abating.
Add to this the recent tube strikes which brought London to a standstill during rush hour and many commuters have been left angry and frustrated. But why do they need to do it? The concept of travelling many miles to a central office in order to work is becoming increasingly outdated.
In the past it was necessary as the office was where your PC and phone were, where you could meet face to face with your colleagues and receive IT support, but none of this applies anymore.
Laptops and mobile phones are now ubiquitous, with the line between the two becoming increasingly blurred. Similarly, videoconferencing technology and remote IT support is affordable, reliable and convenient for even the smallest of businesses, while apps continue to revolutionise the way in which we live and work.
Most of us now carry with us all the office equipment we need to do our jobs, we can connect to the internet through thousands of WiFi hotspots across the UK, access all of our documents in seconds through the cloud and speak to our colleagues face to face at any time using videoconferencing apps, many of which are available free of charge through Google Play and the App Store.
Add to this the fact that majority of people prefer working from home. Our recent survey of workers found that:
- 58% would be more productive if they didn't have a lengthy commute
- 62% felt that flexible working would improve their quality of life
- 45% would like their company to offer flexible working
Bending the rules
Many businesses now offer some form of flexible working to its employees but most still require that a set number of 'core hours' are spent in the office each day.
However, more forward thinking businesses have realised that having the increasingly hefty cost of renting a central office space on the balance sheet no longer makes financial sense and are adopting fully flexible working policies.
As a result, their employees avoid lengthy/troublesome journeys into the office and the businesses themselves are seeing an increase in productivity in return.
In light of this evidence, perhaps it's time more UK businesses gave serious thought to updating their work practices in the same way they would their IT?
To learn more about the products and services Citrix offers to remote working, visit: http://www.citrix.com/
- Andrew Millard is Senior Director Marketing EMEA at Citrix Online Service Division