The internet, cloud computing and flexible working practices are creating more mobile workers, but how are they coping with some of the problems of working away from the office?
With the near ubiquity of wireless and mobile network connectivity and the continuing development and affordability of cloud computing, mobile working is rising ever further. When you also add legislation and some enlightened employers that not just allow, but actually encourage, flexible hours and mobile working, you have a recipe for success.
Large companies, like BT, have found significant cost savings through these developments: BT estimate they saved £500m between 2000 and 2008 as 70% of their staff turned to flexible working. At the other end of the scale, solo entrepreneurs and small businesses use this technology and flexibility to minimise start-up costs, gain competitive advantage and enjoy a better work-life balance.
Working at home or on the road does not suit everyone, but those that enjoy it gain some freedom and autonomy and, often, improved performance, while their businesses save money and reduce risk of failure.
However, mobile working is not without its’ problems. The technology breakdowns can take longer to fix when you are remote and only ‘near ubiquity’ means that network signal or wireless is not always available. Other issues include isolation from colleagues and the lack of camaraderie, support and knowledge share this brings.
Katie Allen, from KA Communications feels that working from her home office is not the most productive environment, but at the same time did not want to swap one isolated place for another: ‘I need flexible office space, where I can work efficiently, but where I can also interact with others and get the buzz you associate with a busy office’.
Although cafes, hotels, libraries, etc. can help, increasingly, these problems are being resolved by Business Centres. Many already offer touch-down space such as hot-desks, co-working space and meeting rooms. All these services come with constantly connected, high speed, wireless broadband, IT support if needed, access to facilities like fax to email and photocopier, copious amounts of tea and coffee and a whole host of business support services.
They offer professional working spaces that you can use for an hour, a day, a month. Business Centres also provide opportunities to network with other like-minded business owners operating in the co-working and dedicated office spaces and a more suitable environment than the home office or a café say, in which to meet colleagues, clients or suppliers.
To show how these facilities and services work, the Colston Office Centre is holding an open day on the 7th June, between 1100 and 1400 hours. In the heart of the city, near the bottom of Christmas Steps, the Centre provides a whole range of services that help small businesses, mobile workers and home workers. Technology gives you a virtual office in the cloud – your Business Centre gives you physical space to keep your feet on the ground.
To book your place on the Open Day and find out more about how we can help your business, contact Barry Harvey on 0117 3178090 or visit our Training Centre.