News Column

Working from home can be profitable

July 13, 2014

Hilmy Cader

As knowledge workers, why do we have to physically commute to work every single day?

With the flooding of advanced technologies such as cloud computing coupled with globalisation and shifting workforce demographics, pretty much anyone with an Internet connection can set up a workspace of their own choice.

And in the process consider the savings in fuel costs, commuting time, traffic jams, wear and tear of vehicles and above all the carbon footprint.

Increasingly, this is a trend seen in diverse industries from massive open online clinics in higher education and business to telemedicine and therapy among counsellors and physicians.

One way to look at it is the fact that employees are the greatest asset for any company. Whereas the workplace itself is nothing more or less than the means to use those assets.

However, the decision of where you work has become a decision that many companies are finding hard to figure out how to best manage for the betterment of both employee and organisation.

The question is what's holding us back? Technology, habit or mindset? To answer this question, it is pretty clear that technology is no longer a barrier with the high speed connectivity and hardware to support telecommuting.

It simply boils down to a management issue. Employers and managers are yet to open up to the business strategy of telecommuting in spite of the well documented benefits for both parties involved.

The habit of "face-time" management style is one that needs to be shredded and re-emphasised on management by results.

Also the mindset that presence in office equals to control is no longer true given that it is individual dependent.

To argue on the flipside, telecommuting might not be ideal in work environments where close collaboration is required. Likewise some may say the company culture may be lost and the company's direction not understood.

However, telecommuting at least for some days of the week is still a workable and cost saving option. Imagine the time that can be saved and the quality thinking time that you can get by working from home (at least on some days of the week).

Mr Cader is the chief executive of MTI Consulting

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: Gulf Daily News (Bahrain)

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