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Home’s where the office is

THE home has become a favoured work site, whether on a full-time basis or for the flexibility it can offer.

ABS statistics for the year 2000 say that 20 per cent of people worked in their own home or a home other than their employer’s or client’s home. With the advent of new technologies – most specifically the availability of affordable, high speed Internet – it is safe to assume that the number of people working from home has increased.

Meta Group research estimates that more than 75 per cent of Global 2000 firms (the world’s biggest 2000 firms) will have telework programs in place that will enable employees to work from various corporate offices, on the road, or at home. This figure was less than 25 per cent a few years ago.

By 2004 more than 75 per cent of Global 2000 firms will have telework infrastructures and components- that is the laptops, mobile phones, and secure ID cards.

According to Millennium (Australasia) operations manager Justin Lowe, affordable broadband and associated technology is enabling more people to set up a home office.

“I’ve connected several hundred broadband connections for small businesses, including lots of home offices, and seen the configuration. Most people now have two or more computers and they need Internet access for both and access to the office network,” Mr Lowe said.

The advent of affordable, fast Internet connections had created a real growth in the number of people working from home, he said.

“With high speed Internet connections more people can be productive in a larger range of jobs,” Mr Lowe said.

Gartner research director, mobile and wireless, Robin Simpson said more companies would enable their employees to become mobile.

“We are moving from an era where we are chained to the desk to an era where a lot of companies are issuing people with laptops,” he said.

According to Mr Simpson, the initial expense of mobile technology should not deter employers from implementing work-from-home strategies.

“The original PC is a small part of the annual cost of supplying a person at work. The hardware is only a part of it. A vast majority is in support and human capital infrastructure cost,” he said.

“For that reason it doesn’t cost more to give an employee a laptop, provided they spend some time out of the office.”

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