Keywords: Consulting, Home Office
Recently, there’s been a flurry of reports and surveys about the virtues and issues of working from home. One article will state that it is the future and the time is now for more flexibility for working from home, and the next article states that companies are now pulling the plug on home workers or that home workers are not really all that happy. It’s really a mixed bag on what you read and what conclusions you can draw from these articles.
I used to have an office in an office building. That office space costs me almost $1,000 a month in rent. Add in a business phone line and business internet service and the cost was over $1,100 a month. In the years that I had that office, I think I had maybe five clients come pay a visit. All the rest of the time, I was onsite with the client or in my office working by myself. It was truly a waste of time and money for me to have an office outside of my home.
With more independent consultants working together in virtual teams, it should be obvious to even the most casual observer that worker flexibility can be the key to getting a project done on time and on budget. I’ve heard from recruiters that they cannot find talented SAS programmers to work for them. I have turned down very promising contracts myself because the work environment is just not flexible enough to meet my demands. What is even more amazing to me is that many of these companies that cannot find the “talented SAS staf” that they desire have no desire to even begin to negotiate work being done off-premises. You have to wonder if any of these project managers have heard of the term VPN or know what Webex, Gotomeeting or Persony is all about.
My prediction is that with the rise in the cost of gasoline and energy that is needed to heat and cool large offices, companies will become more interested in placing that burden on the employee instead of absorbing that cost themselves. Companies that want to attract the best talent (and keep this talent) will offer such incentives. The baby boom generation is entering the retirement age and there will soon be a dwindling pool of employees to choose from. Forward looking organizations will develop and embrace virtual employees and work hours very soon.