Teleworking is one of those technologies that sounds simple enough, but the reality is a little more complicated than you might think.
If the idea of staying at home, avoiding the daily commute and getting your work done in the comfort of your home office sounds appealing, you're not alone.
Time and time again we're hearing that more and more Australians want to work from home - 64% of small to medium busisinesses have staff who telework either mostly or part of the time, according to a survey of 1,022 business by MYOB.
It's easy to see why plenty of people have jumped on the teleworking bandwagon - we're told it can lead to a better work/life balance and even better job satisfaction. You might even get more done.
With this in mind, it's interesting to note the number of details that get lost in the hype about teleworking. For example, take these two teleworking guides, which include all sorts of examples of why teleworking is not as simple as taking a laptop home:
For example, using a home phone means different contact numbers for staff and it might mean not being able to access the same office phone system features. Who pays for broadband? What about mis-communication between staff? Can your business handle the basic IT setup and support? We even received an email from a company warning that home offices must comply with health and safety laws.
Then there's the email we received from Logicalis, an IT provider, pointing to a Cisco-comissioned study which found that "most participating organisations failed to engage in any form of cost benefit analysis relating to telework, or seek to measure the positive benefits of this mode of working."
There's also the effect that working alone for days at a time can have on your state of mind, and the abillity to keep from getting distracted. Alex Kidman wrote about this for us last year.
And David Lamond made the argument last year that teleworkers need to be even more self-motivated and "disposed" towards the different type of relationship with a supervisor relationship that worlking from home involves. As he pointed out, it doesn't make sense for every job.
Right now, teleworking seem to be up there with ecommerce and cloud computing as a classic example of a trend that can bring genuine benefits, but one that requires a little more care and thought than you might think.