According to the research, only six per cent of people rate seeing the children as the most appealing aspect of homeworking, compared with more than 60 per cent who placed greater flexibility at the top of their list.
More than 80 per cent of respondents said that they used the internet for home working, 15 per cent more than those who use it for shopping, suggesting that working from home is becoming increasingly common-place among small businesses and sole traders.
“Traditionally flexible working has only really been for parents and carers wanting to spend more time at home, but the internet now offers so many more opportunities to continue working away from the office,” says Chris Stening, managing director of UK Online. “These findings show a definite shift in perception – remote working is becoming the norm and working from home no longer means sitting at your static desktop PC.”
Mandy Browne, who runs designer jewellery business ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ from her Oxford home, agrees on the need for self discipline when remote working. “Working from home can be a double edged sword – on the one hand it gives you greater freedom to choose when, how and where you work, on the other, it can blur the lines between your work and home life,” she explains. “I think that to really take advantage of the flexibility offered by remote working and be truly productive, it’s important to still have a structure in place. Make sure that you have specific times for work and specific times for the family, and stick to them wherever you can.”
UK Online conducted the survey to investigate how Britain’s small businesses and sole traders are using the Internet. In addition to the benefits, the survey also looked at some of the major challenges online. Almost half of those surveyed cited receiving too many irrelevant emails as the biggest frustration with the Internet and how to manage them as one of the key challenges.
“Email remains one of the key uses for the Internet, and the management and hosting of email has never been as critical as it is for the growing numbers of remote workers,” explains Stening. “As part of this, we will be offering Microsoft Exchange 2007 in hosted mode as part of our Premier package from March, allowing remote workers to access e-mail, calendar and contacts in real time from any device, anywhere and at any time.”
This piece is courtesy of The Daily Telegraph Business Club