Earlier this year, Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer banned employees working from home, on the basis that it hinders productivity.
However, a recent poll by The Guardian found more than 70% of respondents would prefer to work from home. Moreover, an experiment by Chinese multinational CTrip last year found working from home led to a 12% increase in employee performance.
For smaller businesses, home working is a viable option that can prove beneficial, increasing employee productivity and cutting costs. However, to make home working practical and effective, business owners need to put the right technology in place.
Here are three ways to get your home working technology right:
1. Provide good IT support
When you're working from home, common IT problems can seem harder to overcome. There's nobody else around to ask for help, which can make employees feel isolated.
However, a bit of forward planning can help you provide effective help to home workers. There's some good advice about supporting remote workers here on IT Donut.
You can also look at professional support systems available to small businesses and home workers. For example, One Call Fix, supplied by Knowhow for PC World Business (the company I work for), acts as a direct point of call for IT support, guaranteeing access to a network of experts with a no fix, no fee promise.
2. Use more mobile technology
Your business can transform its operations by becoming more mobile.
Laptops, netbooks and tablets can all help boost employees’ productivity by helping them complete more work outside the office. Ultrabooks, very thin and light laptops, like the high-end Chromebook, are portable while maintaining a screen large enough for viewing detailed documents.
Tablets offer similar advantages, along with apps to help your business run efficiently and professionally.
3. Look into VoIP
Voice over IP (VoIP) allows you to place telephone calls over the internet, meaning a telephone number need no longer be tied to a landline or location.
With VoIP, your telephone number can follow you wherever you are. Skype is a good, popular VoIP system through which you can place audio and video calls.
You can also use a service like Google Hangouts to host virtual meetings.
What to do next
Home offices are varied and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
This means that before you invest in technology for remote and home working, it is important to seek specialist IT advice to make sure you are using the best tools for your requirements.
By selecting the right technology and choosing the correct IT support, businesses can ensure they improve performance levels and cut costs.
Jeremy Fennell is managing director of PC World Business.