A couple of weeks ago Microsoft launched the Anywhere Working initiative in conjunction with Business in the Community, Vodafone, Transport for London, Nokia, Regus and Nuffield Health. This group initiative is designed to demonstrate to businesses and individuals how much money, time and carbon can be saved by working more flexibly and finding alternatives to travel. The site (see link above) provides a savings calculator which provides a calculation of money, CO² and time saved by not travelling to your place of work – two days per week working from home rather than making my way from Camberley to Thames Valley Park results in an annual saving of £416, 1.29 tonnes of CO² (crikey) and 5.8 days. Mind you, there’s no such thing as an average week for me, and I will eat into my own supply of tea bags and Jaffa Cakes. The site also provides some case studies for flexible working.

Obviously the viability of working from home depends on your job role, but advancements in technology (such as broadband and corporate-grade real-time collaboration incorporating document / desktop sharing and co-authoring) have made the premise of working from home more realistic and achievable over the past few years. A business adopting unified communications – offering integrated telephony, video and embedded presence awareness – further promotes the experience for home or mobile workers.

Anywhere Working isn’t just about working from home, it’s about working from wherever you find yourself, and therefore support for portable devices is also an important aspect. Last week I was at an off-site team meeting but had to join a customer call, so I used the venue’s WiFi, my Windows 7 tablet, and Lync telephony (and video) to join the meeting from a quiet corner. Anywhere Working is achievable with the right tools and infrastructure (and a connection).

The week commencing 27th of February has been designated Anywhere Working Week, during which businesses and individuals are invited to give flexible working a chance to make an impact. Stay tuned to the Anywhere Working site and also the Facebook page for more information. On the Anywhere Working Twitter account (@Anywhere_Work) you have the opportunity to win a Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse (that’s gotta be worth it).

This article has 4 comments

  1. Dave Hay Reply

    I’ve been a big fan of the “Anywhere Working” concept for many a year, since I moved out of a desk job in Hursley in 2004.

    Even before that, I used to love the flexibility of being able to work anywhere at any time, as long as I had some kind of connectivity ( accessing PROFS email via a 3270 emulator on a Palm Pilot connected via serial lead to a Nokia 2110, via 9,600 dial up ).

    As a semi-professional “road/rail/air warrior”, I always make sure I carry just enough gear to get working – the thing that often lets me down is a lack of a reliable internet connection; 3G rarely works outside the urban areas, and finding a pervasive, consistent and affordable wifi connection is a challenge – BT Openzone offers some hope, but it’s not always available everywhere.

    Still, one soldiers on :-)

  2. Darren Reply

    3G is patchy even if you’re standing still in the middle of a town. On a train it’s usually awful (even a simple phone call on a train can be a challenge). But a 3G dongle is useful when you turn up at a customer site and find that for a number of reasons you wouldn’t possibly be able to use their wireless network.

    Working from home became a necessary option for me when I lost my office in Lotus Park (I used to have a prime spot upstairs in block 3), and then I lost a permanently-assigned desk, and then the Lotus team were treated like second-class citizens, always being moved to accommodate another team. And then IBM took away the free-tea privileges.

    These days when I work from home I tend to start around 07:30 and can get a lot done before the bulk of activity starts at 09:00. In some ways it’s no different to home working during the IBM days – the major difference is that everyone in Microsoft uses Lync telephony and conference calls… compare that to patchy SUT adoption and using external conference calls in IBM. Who joined, who joined, who joined…?

  3. Dave Hay Reply

    I’ve just dug out the Plantronics USBDECT headset, as the old-school wired headset fell apart last week.

    We still get the “Who joined, who joined” plaintive cries, but that’s often because I’m on conference calls with customers and partners, often using their own internal call services.

    :-)

  4. Darren Reply

    So IBM don’t use an external service for conference calls now (even if everyone is an IBMer)? And you can see who joined without asking them?

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