By Paul Dumouchelle, Management Consultant, ADVISA
As highlighted in this NPR article, increased fuel costs, demands for improved work-life balance and technology advancements all support more people doing their work from their home.
Two key reasons this is of special importance to the marketing community. First of all, many of us are “knowledge workers” – in that what we do involves information, graphics or communications – all of which can be digitized and managed as well from one’s home office as from anyplace else. Also, as marketers, we need to be aware of all such trends. There are marketing opportunities in the “telecommuter” segment, either by bundling business services in a new way that appeals to the telecommuter segment or in yet-to-be-defined innovative products, services or campaigns.
One promising aspect of this trend is the incredible productivity boost it can create. For the employee it comes from eliminating the time and cost of transporting yourself from your residence to your place of work. On any given day this probably adds at least an hour of discretionary time for most people. It is certainly something I value in my own “work from home” environment.
The employers’ side of the equation includes reduced expenses for facilities to make room for the employee.
Of course telecommuting won’t work in all situations and for all people. It takes a certain type of person to manage the independence inherent in telecommuting. If you’re looking for hierarchy and structure you won’t find it working from home. While the NPR article also mentions a need for personal interaction, I think this “need” will be increasingly fulfilled by interactive technology as time goes on and in fact it may be easier to connect with people via a network than face-to-face in a workplace. Anybody who has ever scrambled for a meeting room at the last minute can relate to that!
People who grow up texting and on Facebook will collaborate in different ways than older generations, for sure.