With new laws on flexible working and communication more mobile than ever before, is the traditional office environment a thing of the past?
If you work in a traditional office, you may have noticed in the past few years that staff are no longer working five days a week, 9-5. Having worked in London for twenty years, I know as well as anyone how frustrating it can be to travel during the rush hour along with thousands of other commuters. Underground strikes, road traffic, overcrowded trains, congestion charges and rising ticket prices all make for a pretty lousy experience for London commuters.
Whatever the reason for wanting to work flexibly, technology has played a major part in making this possible for employees. Cloud computing, internet video-conferencing and the advent of smart phones, have all contributed to a 25% increase in employees working from home in the last ten years (ONS).
In recognition of this growing trend, since the end of June 2014, the government has made it legal for all employees to request flexible working - not just parents and carers.
However, just as technology is helping employees work from home, technology giants such as Google and Yahoo are fighting against this trend.
Google is spending £1bn on a new office in London's King's Cross area, ready for 2016. Complete with climbing wall, indoor football pitch and a rooftop swimming pool, it's designed to make employees want to go into the office.
Last year, Yahoo controversially announced that it's flexible working arrangements would be banned completely: “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together. Beginning in June, we’re asking all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! offices., an internal memo said to staff.
Can working from home or remotely really impact on quality of work?
As a design agency, we value communication very highly. Constant dialogue between colleagues is key when bouncing ideas off each other. Whether chatting over Skype, working in the cloud or meeting face-to-face, mixing a virtual set-up with a traditional office is ok with us.
We're a long way from installing a swimming pool and climbing wall, so for the moment we hope a relaxed environment and Woody the office dog is enough to keep our staff happy!