Boris Johnson, London’s Mayor, recently went on a tirade about working from home, criticizing the work ethic and the “general malingering” of a teleworker.
Coming from a company where telework is widely practiced, I couldn’t disagree more with Mr. Mayor. The world is on the cusp of the next revolution in how people work and this next phase must create deeper relationships and spur more effective communications and a sense of “connectedness” that we’ve been missing. Telework has not only been proven to make for a more efficient workforce but it also has resulted in happier employees. More than 80 percent of employees claim a better work/life balance since working remotely and 73 percent say they are more willing to put in extra time at work without their commute.
Organizations that provide flexibility are also more likely to attract new talent. Cisco surveyed college students and young professionals working around the world to determine the influence mobile device protocols, remote work opportunities, and Internet policies have on their employment decisions. And it matters — 42 percent of college students and recent graduates said they make career decisions based on companies that provide the best work/life balance. This request for balance came before more money (26 percent) or advancement potential (23 percent).
Additionally, telework allows the recruitment process to be expanded globally to a broader pool of knowledge workers. As long as they are connected, it doesn’t matter where their office is based.
Telepresence has kept workers in disparate locations connected and allowed businesses to maintain—even enhance—its fluidity and efficiency. Young prospective employees seek organizations that embrace technologies, like telepresence, that support anywhere, anytime collaboration and, with the right set-up, can operate smoothly on a personal level. It facilitates close relationships among colleagues separated by distance, which 4 out of 6 people stated that building a relationship cannot be achieved without the power of in-person, which requires rich communication.
Let’s also not forget efficiency — telework is a cost saver for employers. The potential U.S. employer could save as high as $441 billion from reduced absenteeism, recruiting costs and increased productivity.
No matter where you work — you needn’t spend all day in your office, classroom, or examination room to productively do your job or complete your assignments. Far from a passing fad, teleworking is a genuine paradigm shift that enterprises big and small are embracing on a massive scale. I think the London Mayor should give teleworking a fair chance using telepresence before making assumptions of “malingering workers.” What do you think?