Archive for the ‘Telework Pros and Cons’ Category

• Telework Law WIll Push Federal Agencies

Carl Weinschenk at IT BusinessEdge interviewed Kate yesterday and posted an extraordinarily good summary of what the House Telework bill means.

You can read the whole story here.

They have a nifty telework slide show too, here.

• Group Health For Elance Freelancers

Elance, one of the freelance job boards, has established a partnership with eHealth to health insurance for small businesses and freelance professionals who work online. Is a retirement plan next?

The partnership will provide the U.S. based Elance community with “free health insurance quotes, the ability to compare over 10,000 health insurance products from carriers nationwide and the option to purchase quality health insurance products through an online, paperless process. Members of the Elance community will also have access to a call center staffed with licensed health insurance agents for personal assistance.”

A recent survey conducted by Elance revealed that a majority (51%) of respondents didn’t know how healthcare reform was going to affect them, and 24% expressed concern that healthcare reform would have a negative impact on independent workers. Although cost was cited as the largest barrier for obtaining health insurance, the majority of survey respondents (85%) identified lack of quality information as a major challenge in selecting health insurance as an independent worker.

To visit Elance’s healthcare resource, go to: http://www.elance.com/p/healthcare.html

• Connected Britain

Boy, I wish I’d written this, but I didn’t. UK futurist James Bellini did, as an introduction to a whitepaper sponsored by Orange.

Our world is being transformed by major convergent trends – tipping points in technology, demographics, individual aspirations and behaviour – that are re-shaping the way we live, work and socialise. In this “connected” future our industrial-age heritage of fixed hours and fixed-place working will disappear and the geography of Britain’s working habits will steadily change.

The rapidly emerging digital age is also the “connected” age, a future in which web-based networks and online virtual communities make possible a continuous, worldwide “conversation”. This conversation is the marketplace of the future, where the currency is collaboration and the sharing of ideas and experiences – where marketing, selling and customer relationships are developed and embedded through engagement that harnesses these online possibilities. Businesses that ignore its power risk marginalisation, decline and potential commercial annihilation. Connectivity is the vital resource of the future economy.

The impact of this future on working choices and practices will be profound – although it is already under way. A hundred years ago a typical working lifetime stretched to 100,000 hours, usually in one fixed place of employment. Now, technologies coupled with demanding individual attitudes about life balance – and right-thinking business strategies – are conspiring to sweep away this work philosophy. In the emerging Connected Economy people will be able to work wherever – and whenever – they choose, whether at home, in local hubs or on the move. Companies, driven by clear financial benefits, will steadily abandon out-dated office hierarchies and costly premises and encourage “connected” working – many already have. By 2020 a successful and forward-looking business will have no HQ, probably no CEO and only a fraction of the fixed assets it has today. The “connected” company of the future will be lean, flexible and reliant on a dispersed, connected workforce; software will give way to “anyware”.

The economic returns will be enormous – welcome in these troubled times and in the recovery to come. Studies show these “e-workers” of the future – released from fixed-place captivity – will be more productive, better motivated and probably happier. The businesses they “connect” with – the companies they make function – will be more adaptable, more responsive to changing market conditions, less cost-burdened and hence more profitable. The traditional “office”, with its wastage and distractions, has been a deeply unproductive way of doing business – away with it.

This is no make-believe vision of the future for work. This future is already well on its way: in the UK today millions of people enjoy flexible, often home-based working. Studies indicate that by 2020 some 80 per cent of the UK workforce [and the German and French, for that matter] will not be tied in to a 9-5, fixed-place daily office routine. This percentage is set to grow thereafter.

This digital, “connected” future will be a key factor in creating a new socio-economic geography for Britain – of work, wealth-creation and welfare. For millennia, people in this part of the world have found work opportunities close to natural or fixed-place resources or activities, be it farmland, coal, iron ore, water power, factories or urban offices. This simple principle has determined the economic and social geography of Britain through the ages. For the first time ever, “connectivity” will set them free. In this future Connected Britain, many may elect to relocate to greener pastures. Many others – including several million “live-alone” householders [both Bridget Jones singletons and older folk, now alone] – will choose urban life. And not just in London.

In fact, the long-entrenched domination of London and the South East in Britain’s unbalanced economic structure could at last be ended. Indeed, the vision of Digital Britain set out in the government’s White Paper, published in June, expressly promises a connected Britain that embraces our rural areas, from Cornwall and Cumbria to the far reaches of the country’s remote corners. Connected Britain is not about cities – it is about every by-way of the nation.

The financial and related benefits of this radical socio-economic shift are profound – and deeply important at a time when Britain wrestles with the prospects of economic and business life after this current recession. A happier and more productive workforce – operating where it wishes to be; businesses enjoying major cost-savings and productivity gains and leaner management structures; more eco-friendly communities, commuting less and running less carbon-costly localised offices [home office are known to have a much lower carbon impact that big urban office complexes]; a modern, 21st century business culture.

Britain was the home of the first Industrial Revolution. This country pioneered the sinews of earlier economic transformation: canals and railways. Now, as we look forward to the challenges of this new century, Britain’s anyware economy is set to be the crucible of the Digital Revolution. I foresee a Connected Future – where social and working life, the creation of wealth and the texture of everyday life are determined by the connections we make. A vast, varied, productive and exciting conversation.