Traditionally the phrase “sorry darling, I’m at the office” would conjure up an image of the typical overworked employee, confined by grey corporate walls, stacks of paper and the odd water cooler. What it didn’t suggest was cartoons, pyjamas and last night’s dinner stewing on top of the monthly reports. The latter of these images is the modern day worker. A worker who operates business from the usual corporate setting, or, should the option be available, from the comfort of his or her own living room.
A recent article in the Telegraph found that more than 2.5 million UK businesses currently operate from home, making up 9 per cent of the total workforce. Remote working has now become a reality and there is no denying the benefits. There have been many surveys that have found a strong correlation between working from and an increase in employee productivity. One particular IBM study even found that working from your living room increases productivity so much that workers can carry on for an additional 19 hours more than other employees.
Home life can be chaotic at times, and integrating a business hub into this can prove a challenge, but if co-ordinated and managed correctly, it can also be a life changer. One thing that is consistent with all businesses, no matter where they operate from, is the need for professionalism. Clients still like to feel as though a supplier operates from a fixed and professional environment.
Whether making the transition to home working or just starting up a business from home, there are now options available to ensure professionalism, or even just the image of professionalism, is not compromised by the environment chosen to work from.
Offerings such as Velocity Virtual have been developed with the flexible worker in mind. Businesses operating remotely can now benefit from the same luxuries an office offers – a prestigious business address, call answering and virtual desk space – meaning that an image of utmost professionalism is upheld at all times, even if the image does not match the reality.
With nearly four-fifths of senior managers now providing some form of flexible working arrangements for staff and more than half of all UK enterprises now operating from the owner’s home (WERS study, 2013), maintaining a professional image has never been more important. It is vital that business owners are confident that their company’s professional image is not tarnished by the place they choose to operate from and that professionalism remains of paramount importance when starting up any home-based or flexible business.
To find out more information on Velocity Virtual, visit www.velocityvirtual.com.
David Saul, managing director of Business Environment