Working from home under watch

by 26 Nov 2008

ELECTRONIC MONITORING is eliminating one of the biggest obstacles to working at home – employers’ fears that remote workers will slack off, according to recruitment firm Julia Ross.

Managers consistently rank lack of control over employees and their productivity as their top teleworking inhibitor, said Sheryle Moon, president of Julia Ross for Australia New Zealand.

However, this scepticism can be overcome with monitoring technology – taking photos of computer screens at random, counting keystrokes or mouse clicks and even watching them through video cameras attached to their PCs.

Toshiba’s recent Mobility and Mistrust survey, for example, found that while almost every company in Australia has positive, flexible work arrangement policies, only 38 per cent of organisations allow staff to work from home and less than 40 per cent of managers believe that staff actually work when they are at home.

“They think flexible work conditions disrupt monitoring and supervision arrangements,” said Moon. “An environment of trust and empowerment would, of course, be much more engaging.”

Moon said it was only a matter of time before companies embrace teleworking – or get left behind.

Workers today expect to be flexible and mobile, which Australian and New Zealand workplaces, in the main, are not,she said. “Teleworking helps to engage and maintain top talent. A big pay packet is no longer the primary factor in most people’s choice of employer,” she said.

“Today, people want to work for companies that place a priority on environmental sustainability and work/life balance. Teleworking addresses both of these needs.”

With the ever-improving functionality of remote working technology, the shift to teleworking will happen quickly,Moon predicted.

Social media, presence-based communications and web applications are minimising some of the issues around how people work together from different locations and time zones.


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