Technology has long been linked with evolving working patterns. Innovations like steam power and mechanisation transformed an entire working climate during the Industrial Revolution, while later, the development of roads and railways enabled employees to live further away from their workplaces. Today, the balance is increasingly swinging the other way, with the rise of work from home technology facilitating new and flexible working lifestyles. Here, we explore some of the technology that is changing where and how we work in the 21st century.
A growing trend
The number of workers choosing to work from home has grown steadily with the increased availability of work from home technology. In 2014, 4.2 million people (almost 14% of the UK workforce) reported working from home or using their home as a base while doing a job that involves travel. The figure was the highest since records began in 1998, and is doubtless rising still further as developments in work from home technology influence working culture even further.
Faster connections, at home and on the move
What technology has made this increase possible? Overwhelmingly, it’s high speed internet connections that have been responsible for the culture shift. Without broadband, working from home may have been possible on odd days for trusted staff, but would not have been an option for most roles. With high speed connections as standard, however, employees and freelancers alike can connect continuously, communicate effectively and access everything they need to complete their jobs.
Mobile devices are another significant development that is revolutionising the way we work. Tablets and smartphones allow workers to take their desktops on the road, checking in and working wherever and whenever is convenient.
While work from home technology may initially be utilised as a way to cut down on snow days and sickies, it can bring many extra business advantages for canny companies. A culture of remote working, with the right support, can lead to even more interaction than a more traditional setup. Technology like video conferencing, VoIP calls and cloud-based shared drives can bring people together, whatever their location, allowing you to collaborate with colleagues across borders. The same technological advances can also aid communication with clients in different cities. And finally, of course, a rise in remote workers can translate into cost savings for employers who do not require the same office overheads to accommodate their staff.
The future of remote working
With remote working continuing to rise in popularity, and companies like Dell aiming for half their workers to log on remotely by 2020, more businesses are set to join this new and highly productive working culture in the next few years. Alongside this, we’re likely to see a rise in independent consultants as many professionals will take matters into their own hands by choosing to work freelance, at times and places to suit them. Thanks to the rise of work from home technology, we could be on the brink of a new and exciting era for our careers. We can’t wait to see what happens next.