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Boris Johnson was in the news yesterday meeting up with business leaders in London to discuss travel arrangements for the Summer’s events.

The Government had laid out their advice earlier in the year – work from home as much as possible to minimise the disruption.

Yesterday though, Boris appeared to suggest otherwise, indicating that “bludgers” would use “homeworking as an excuse for general malingering”.

We definitely agree with Boris that an office environment cannot be beaten for building a culture and for driving innovation – so much benefit comes from unplanned interactions as people move around an office (Google call it out on their corporate website).

That said, being in an office can also dramatically reduce productivity. If you write, code, design, analyse, invent or create then you need focus and to get into a deep state of thought. Constant interruptions take you back to the start of your train of thought and slow you down. A day or two a week working from home can enable you to make significant headway on the more intense parts of your role that don’t require constant interaction.

Businesses that adopt a flexible working approach can also start to broaden their recruitment horizons. A 2 hour commute might be out of the question for 5 days a week – but for 2 or 3 days its possible.

The technology exists today to give your homeworkers exactly the same access to your systems as your onsite employees receive. As long as employees have a phone and a broadband connection they can be taking customer service enquiries from anywhere. As Ashley Unitt explains in our post 6 reasons to take card payments in the cloud you can even have home workers taking secure credit card payments at home without affecting your PCI compliance.

The main issue that Boris hits upon is the fear that home working is a synonym for not working – that employees will take liberties and treat it as a ‘day off’. We believe that most people want to do a great day’s work, and as we discussed in our review of a Flexible Working webinar we attended recently – if you let your fear get in the way you start managing the exception not the rule.

If you really still don’t trust your own employees, then most technology gives you the ability to report on how productive employees are – looking at logged in times, percentage of time spent on calls, and sales or customer satisfaction statistics. It’s easy to bring any poor performers back into the office full-time and treat the opportunity to home work as an incentive.

What is your attitude to home working? What concerns do others in your business have around employees working from home? Have you implemented a home working policy? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

For more information on how NewVoiceMedia can enable your team to work from home and still be part of your contact centre visit the ContactWorld page on our website.

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About Charlie Cowan

Charlie is passionate about cloud computing and how it can help real businesses to run more profitably.

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