Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Ways to Work From Home

Working from home is a dream that many people have. The idea of not having to wake up insanely early just so you can sit in traffic for an hour appeals to many people. Working in your pajamas, taking a nap on your lunch break with no one the wiser; there are numerous reasons why working from home is an exciting prospect. In fact, nearly 10 percent of the global workforce does this every day.

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to work from home, chances were you couldn’t. Computers were rudimentary. There was no email, internet, instant messaging, or cell phones. It just wasn’t feasible for most people. These days however, everybody from software engineers to writers to paralegals never need to set foot in an office. And the number of people working from home will continue to grow as technology continues to advance.

A major obstacle that is still holding many professionals back from working at home is the need to physically attend meetings. One technology that’s set to change all this is telepresence. With telepresence technology, different people in different locations throughout the world can all participate in the same meeting in a way that has not been possible in previous years.

I’ll give you an example to better demonstrate what I mean. Let’s say that your company schedules a meeting. Even if you’re someone who typically works from home, you might be required to go into the office for this meeting. Although it is possible to attend a meeting virtually, many companies prefer their employees to physically be there, as it can guarantee full participation from all parties. If you go to a meeting via the phone, who knows what you’re doing on your end of the line. But with telepresence technology, this is no longer a concern.

In the conference room at the office, in addition to the traditional table and chairs, you now also have several large monitors lining the wall. Each of these monitors has the ability to connect with one or many individuals throughout the world and give them a live feed into the meeting. Likewise, the people in the conference room can see all of these telecommuters on the monitors. Now, even if you’re the one giving the presentation, everyone attending the meeting, whether they’re at the office or in some other location, will be able to see you quite clearly. Because the video feed is high definition, these telecommuters are as close to actually being in that conference room as they can get without physically being there.

You want to work from home but your boss needs you at that meeting? Telepresence technology. Problem solved.

This is just one of many emerging technologies that will enable greater numbers of people to work from home regardless of their profession. And who knows? Maybe soon you’ll be one of them. Just make sure that before your next meeting you have a tie that matches your pajamas.