Back in the 19th Century, the workforce was by and large based at home (such as spinners) hence the phrase cottage industry. Then with industrialisation, came the mechanisation of many aspects of industry and as such workers were required to come to the factory in order to work. It is this model that has largely been continued into the modern era. Even with the growth of computer systems, the size and security concerns surrounding access to servers has meant that it was most efficient for workers to come to work.
With the advent of technologies such as the cloud and secure remote access facilities it means that this is no longer strictly necessary. However, the idea still holds, with many manager’s being passionate about requiring their staff to be present in the office. Is this due to a lack of trust in their team or perhaps in their own management skills? That’s probably a topic for another day.
Yet, the socio-economic structure of the UK is changing and no longer can be said to mirror that of even the eighties or the nineties. One key element is the dwindling sense of societal or even family responsibility/cooperation. With people being driven to work longer, the options for childcare or support for the growing number of elderly is no longer shared as easily among a community. As such there has been a resurgence in people with the desire to have flexible working patterns and the option to work from home. This means that they can continue to work around their home and family commitments.
Does your business embrace remote workers? Admittedly, there are some roles in which it is impossible to do remotely and there is also a lot to be said for members of a team ensuring that they are keeping in contact. However, are there elements of your business model that could be undertaken by remote workers or even freelancers?