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London Mayor Only Gets Work Done in the Office?

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?

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  1. I think its problematic to make sweeping statements and generalise, the truth is some people are more productive in the office and some people work better out the office. We all focus in different ways, you think Boris would know this being a politician

    thanks Angie

  2. Of course there are some sectors where telework isn’t a good fit. And there will be certain types of people whose work ethic and personality don’t lend themselves well to telework. However, I think those cases are less common. Working remotely is a big part of the paradigm shift that the internet has revolutionized the world with. This is the new normal. It’s a shame that Boris Johnson had to generalize teleworkers as lazy and unmotivated, because he is out of touch- and marginalizing those of us who DO telework with excellent results.

  3. and then there is commuting. If we have to rock up to the office, the one or two hours spent on public transport should not be wasted. with wifi/3g/4g and mobile devices commuting time does not have to be down time.

  4. First, will telework works for all employee or you can say is it good for all types of job? 2nd are employee working gets better or their orgnizations suffer? I think when some one pay he wants to see his employee infront of him, either employee has work to do or not. Still this is debatable telework works but not all the time.

    • Thank you for the feedback! I agree, telework might not be an ideal solution for all job types. It is something the manager and employee need to determine.

  5. Excellent post. Every single person in our company (KBZ) is equipped with telepresence allowing us to work from anywhere, at anytime, and from any device. I LOVE it. Collaboration amongst our teams is a breeze. Plus, my energy level stays up, and stress level stays down. What more could you ask for?

  6. I believe the sooner Mr Mayor and those who also share his prehistoric views of work being a place you go and not a thing you do, the quicker the worlds economy may start to improve and progress.

    I sell Cisco Solutions including the Collabortation Portfolio which enable remote and teleworking and it’s these type of challenging people who ultimately make rash and uninformed decisions on behalf of their organisations to ignore or rubbish this topic.

    Generation Y are here, they are the future, they need and expect flexibility and the right Collaboration technology to work. If you make the decisin to enable this, like the old saying goes, a happy worker is a productive worker! If not, you risk future talent ignoring your business and working with a forward thinking organisation who chooses to adopt this style of working.

    • I couldn’t agree more Chris! I live in the DC Metro area and telework 1-2 days/week which helps significantly reduce my stress levels and improve my overall productivity. And with collaboration technologies like telepresence, I still feel completely connected. Thank you for the comment!

  7. Good points. I worked in an office for close to 10 years and recently moved to a diff organization which strongly encourages telecommute. I can clearly see the advantages and certainly removed by initial doubts on it.

    From employee point of view, the additional benefits

    * Time – I don’t have to *waste* 3 hours a day commuting to & fro office.
    * Costs – Travel costs..
    * Family – I can spend a little bit extra time with family. Especially the evenings with children..
    * Productivity – A strong YES. I am more productive in the mornings. Now I use that time infront of a computer instead of sitting in a car on a jammed highway.

    Overall, if a company wants me 8 to 5 @ desk, then that’s not a comapny which I am going to work for.

  8. Thanks Silvia – this is a perfect example of being highly effective outside of the office!

  9. Good points, Angie. Especially considering that my favorite story about Boris Johnson involves his work outside of the office, on a day when he saved a woman from a gang attack.