Imagine working from an office with a view of green, rolling hills and a cosy aga welcoming you during your team break. A pipedream?
Not for successful businesswoman Gill Wootton, who appears in the latest issue of Working From Home magazine. Wootton has embraced modern technology to run a highly successful consultancy from her idyllic cottage in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside.
With six consultants and two administrative staff, the company works within a virtual office environment - meaning that they all work from home linked by the innovative technology which is becoming part of our daily lives.
Teleworking is becoming increasingly popular among small businesses, according to the March 2001 issue of Working From Home. Once the preserve of the corporates, flexible working practices are now being used by small employers to attract, and retain, the best staff.
BT pioneered teleworking in the mid-nineties and now has 26,000 ‘nomadic workers’ and 3,500 homeworkers amongst its 100,000 employees. The company developed concepts such as touchdown desks and telecentres and it also re-engineered its supply chain to support people based outside buildings, including home visits for IT problems, virtual stationery stores and virtual post boxes.
The scheme resulted in millions of pounds savings in office space - each permanent desk space removed saved an average of £6,000 a year - and significant increases in staff productivity and job satisfaction.
All these benefits can be enjoyed by smaller organisations, as companies such as Blackburn-based Pierce Chartered Accountants, an organisation that is piloting a flexible working arrangement which allows staff to choose their own working hours and location, has found out.
So far 15 of the 70 members of the firm have taken up the offer of working from home and more are expected to join. Working parents are especially reaping the benefits.
"The idea is that people participating in the scheme will be able to achieve much more in a day if they have a quiet, uninterrupted place to work," says managing partner Paul Warren.
"Some members of the firm have felt guilty about working from home, even if they have achieved much more than they would have done in a pressurised office environment. Most participants, however, feel that they are being trusted and find the whole experience positive and motivating."
Ingrid Atherton, a manager with the firm, was one of the first employees to participate in the new scheme: "It allows me to pack a lot more productive work into a day and it lets me choose exactly how I structure my time. It certainly allows me to adapt work to fit my lifestyle, rather than the other way round."
Also featured in the March 2001 issue of Working From Home:
· Easy as DTP: there’s nothing difficult about desktop publishing.
· The 80-20 principle: why you could be wasting 80 per cent of your time.
· Tension-free travel: using the internet to plan your foreign business trips.
· Office aerobics: being rushed off your feet is no excuse for not exercising.
Notes to editors
1. Priced £2.75, Working From Home is published in the UK by Partridge Publications 2000 Ltd, a division of Maze Media Ltd.
2. The magazine is stocked in WH Smith, John Menzies and independent newsagents nationwide.
3. Press comment:
Jeff James, editor, Working From Home.
Tel: 01273 719900. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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