A new survey out today out from Skype shows that the popularity of remote working – or “teleworking” – is on the rise, and it's being fueled by the advent of new technologies we're all using and the perceived benefits that employers are seeing, including higher productivity and employee retention. That makes Skype the new switchboard, according to The NextWeb...and the claim, even with last weeks outage, and despite the pathetic Mac client, likely correct.
As someone who runs an all virtual business, and have since 1992, I can attest to the sentiment the research is showing. As far back as the 1970's when I worked for the Philadelphia Flyers, part of my "work hours" were either performed from my parents house (I was only a teenager) or from various places, usually payphones or professors offices when I was attending Temple University. Back then my "telework" consisting at first of nothing more than a pad, pen and remote access to my "answering machine. We sure have come a long way in the past thirty years.
Skype's survey, which was conducted by Incites Research in Q4 2010 surveyed 1,000 professionals in the U.S., across small, medium, and large size businesses. What the survey revealed was that today’s workplace is "undergoing a shift" and the new “Living Workplace” is emerging.
Here are just a few of the key findings:
o 62% of firms now allow remote workers.
o 71% reported that flexible remote working helps businesses to attract potential employees.
o 67% of those surveyed said offering flexible working helps businesses to retain effective workers.
o New communications technologies, such as video, are making communication more productive and collaborative away from the office. Of the workers who use video, 68% reported experiencing richer and more productive communication with colleagues, clients and suppliers.
o Email and landline phone usage is expected to decline, while social media, IM/chat, texting and other newer technologies are on the rise.
o The communications tool that is expected to have the biggest gain in usage next year is video calling.
o The adoption of new technologies in the workplace hasn’t happened as a matter of policy or top-down control. It’s happening due to the “consumerization of IT,” whereby employees in organizations have adapted their own personal technologies in the workplace. In two thirds (67%) of organizations, workers can bring their own personal technology into the workplace.
In my agency we make great use of lots of the technology that the survey references and it really can work. Best of all, it allows me to recruit and keep people who may otherwise not be able to remain on the job, as they want a more flexible work-life balance, and yet, they deliver more than others because they are able to do what they need to do, when they need to do it. Balance is maintained, and the work gets done.