We’ve all probably heard the expression ’paperless office’ – referring to the expectation that noone would need to print anything off and all records would be held electronically. However it never seemed to happen, if you visit any office your likely to find the printer working hard, filing cabinets everywhere and a substantial amount of paper floating about. Although there is little doubt that the amount of paper used has fallen quite dramatically.
Another expectation of the microchip revolution was that we’d all soon be working from home communicating via digital links, email, chat and webcams. Certainly many people now do work remotely – normally from home, however I suggest we could all benefit much more by doing this more often. Think of the environmental and economic advantages – reduction in travel benefits both the employee and the environment. How many hours are lost in traffic jams or simply on motorways? How much does it cost to keep a desk open in business premises plus dealing with security, catering and parking. Larger business are employing more people to look after their existing employees needs.
Now of course not everyone can work from home, but there are few obstacles that cannot be overcome using technology. Video conferencing used to be extremely expensive but now can be done using standard broadband and a desktop cam. Almost everyone has a laptop, tablet or at a push a mobile phone they can use. Apple have of course got some great technology for video conferencing – although you may need to set up VPNs
There are many security programs which can store, process or transmit documents and files securely. Larger corporations that operate globally can set up remote access to central servers and email using VPNs. If staff travel a lot internationally they can be given access to proxy software to switch their locations. For example they can dial in to Australian proxies for accessing Australian only sites and services or a US for American access. For more information – check this out – http://www.theninjaproxy.org/tv/finding-an-australian-proxy/
The investment required for most remote access solutions is normally quite low and should easily be recouped from the lower property and capital costs. The benefits accruing to the employee are also significant, a flexible working environment normally helps retain and attract quality employees.