TMT Blog: Office Evolution?

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Tube strikes, signal problems, endless road works.  Sometimes it feels as though the world is conspiring against you making it to, and from, work on time.  And whilst you’re waiting to edge another centimetre towards your destination you’ve got plenty of time to wonder why you’re doing it at all.

In fact, working away from the office is easier now than ever before.  Employees have a host of network-ready devices at their disposal both at home and on the move and ever increasing internet speeds mean that performance is no longer a real issue.  Online solutions such as Office 365, Skype for Business and Dropbox have made accessing documents, resources and meetings from anywhere a reality reducing the need for expensive office space in swanky locations and opening up a much broader potential talent pool, including parents who find it difficult to manage the 9-5 of office life versus the 9-3 reality of school life.

And yet despite this promised land of tech-enabled remote working a recent Microsoft survey revealed that 55% of British workers are required to work from the office within designated working hours with 44% of workers stating that remote working was not possible under any circumstances.

So what’s the issue?

Well the impact of remote working on collaboration remains a major sticking point for many business owners.  In 2013 Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer famously decreed a ban on remote working citing that need to physically be together to foster a culture of innovation.  Apparently we’re not just discussing Game of Thrones around the water cooler, we’re also figuring out the next step for our business.

Trust is another issue although research from Stanford University in the US has shown that remote workers are actually around 13% more productive partly due to an increased sense of autonomy and job satisfaction as well as to reduced commuter time.

There’s no doubting that a strong company culture is an important ingredient for success but just as we increasingly foster our personal relationships in an online environment it feels inevitable that we will increasingly move towards doing the same in a business environment. In fact, a survey by Business Angels found that a third of employees think that commuting will be unheard of by 2036.  And who’s going to mourn that loss?