Boris Johnson’s pre-Olympic attack on home-working in which he described the practice as a ‘skiver’s paradise’ has raised serious doubts about the London Mayor’s grasp of recent business trends.
“Boris doesn’t seem to realise that all of the recent research indicates that over 60% of the population will be regularly working from home within the next decade,” said Ian Vickerage, CEO of Imago Group PLC, the largest video solutions company in Europe, who invited Boris to a demonstration of how far home office technology has come.
Vickerage continues, “I’d be really happy to show Boris how 21st Century businesses have made homeworking a very practical option through VideoMeet, video meetings are now a reality and had been shown to harness a committed team and workforce.”
VideoMeet allows home working employees to connect visually using their own devices whether a mobile phone, tablet or home PC. The service, operated by giant Telekoms provider Deutsche Telekom allows business managers or CEOs to connect easily with existing video conferencing solutions users such as Polycom, Cisco and Microsoft Lync. VideoMeet is also designed to connect virtually with their employees anywhere through their own personal Skype, or Googlechat account without the need to download software or install special components.
“Surveys and research suggest this is now the trend and is set to become the norm with at least two in five professionals now working from locations other than the company’s main offices for at least half the week”. Ian Vickerage continues, “Since 80% of communication is non-verbal, managers need to address the issue of disconnected remote workers through visual communication which can only be applied through video conferencing – I am sure Boris is a Skype user, I would be happy to set up a video call with him to demonstrate this point”.
A report carried out by LM Research, which surveyed 5,000 business heads from companies with 100+ employees at the end of last year found that most company bosses saw the move home as inevitable with employers now abandoning long held prejudices against homeworking.
“The Mayor has touched on a serious note on outdated attitudes to home working in Britain said Vickerage, “To get the most out of employees over the next ten years our homes are not only going to be like offices they are going to have to feel like offices, so what the Mayor should encourage is engagement through technology such as VideoMeet,” continues Vickerage, whose company has seen a 7 fold increase in video conferencing over the last 5 years.
Currently, according to a freedom of information request answered by the London Regional Authority’s Employee Engagement Manager, which was recently released by the LRA: “There are no staff who are home based, but staff do on occasion work remotely from home. We do not hold central records on the number of staff who work from home. All staff are able to set up remote access to our IT systems to enable home working.”
“Successful companies are the ones who can engage with employees effectively. With VideoMeet you can receive company training, managers are easily able to co-ordinate meetings with staff and even undertake presentations,” said Vickerage.
A spokesperson for the Mayor said: “The Mayor was pleased that the majority of Londoners were able to easily access their place of work during the Olympics. The Mayor is confident, as was the case during the Olympics, that Londoners will plan ahead, follow advice, and if necessary, adapt their travel plans to minimise disruption to their journeys into work during the Paralympics.”
According to TUC research the number of people working from home has grown steadily, from three million in 2001 to 3.8 million by the end of 2011 – up 765,000 (25.4 per cent) over the decade, a trend set to increase over the next 10 years.