Specific benefits of a home workplace deployment program are as follows:
1. CUT OPERATING COSTS
The home workplace allows a business or governmental organization to reduce operating costs by reducing the requirement for fixed facilities for those workers who work entirely (or even mostly) with information. In general, workers will still require some access to a central facility but savings of up to 60-80% per worker in terms of fully serviced floor space and office-related services are possible. Conservative estimates of the net facilities savings of past deployments in North America have almost always exceed 40% and are usually considerably higher.
2. INCREASE OPERATIONAL FLEXIBILITY
With full- or part-time home workers, it is possible to increase or decrease workload more rapidly and effectively. An organization can increase or decrease the number of person-hours spent on any function much more readily, since it is possible to also have many standby ‘nominal’ workers who have computer equipment already installed at their home workplaces and are connected (or at least are readily connectable) to the organization’s central equipment. It is also possible to establish market development, market assessment, sales or service ‘outposts’ in new territory much more readily and at much lower expense than opening a conventional office. It is also possible to transfer workers among department or functions, provided computer equipment is based on a corporate standard, with relative ease and without the need for physical re-location.
3. MAKE THE ORGANIZATION SMARTER
In order to decentralize operations intelligently, whether for one workgroup or for a whole firm or division, it is necessary to systematically take stock of the work items handled by the organization or workgroup and to understand the ‘workplaces’ through which the work items flow. In considering the organization’s work in this way, it is possible to identify opportunities for the work items themselves to become ‘smart’ and indeed to, in certain cases, navigate their own way to the workplace of the worker who is, at this instant, best able to ‘perform them’. This is not unlike the ‘just-in-time’ inventory system implemented over the past 10-20 years but there is an important difference; so far, we have not been able to have industrial products navigate their own way through the factory. It is clear however, that the work item/workplace paradigm can permit information-based work items to do just that. This type of work item navigation is fully consistent with steps already taken to empower workers.
4. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NEW TECHNOLOGY
The advent of low-cost servers, the Internet, improved security, maturing remote access technologies such as Citrix, the pending Web Services revolution and the arrival of the open source software movement all provide opportunities for businesses to improve efficiency while reducing costs. Deploying a workgroup to the home workplace provides the ability to fully leverage current technology developments.
5. REDUCE ENERGY CONSUMPTION AND REDUCE POLLUTION
Whether motivated by good corporate citizenship or by governmental mandate, the home workplace enables the organization to reduce its contribution to aggregate energy consumption and pollution in the areas where it operates. In some jurisdictions, a home workplace program may also provide lower cost commuting reduction or congestion reduction ‘credits’ than funding vanpools or contributing to rapid transit by levies outside normal property taxation.
6. INCREASE EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION
The home workplace also supports better a balance of employee work and family life. In very near future, the attitude of an employer towards an employee’s desire to have a reasonable amount of time available for his or her family life will be a decisive factor in attracting, rewarding and retaining high quality employees. Organizations which fail to take steps to maximize the amount of time an employee has for family and local community/recreational activities may find it increasingly difficult to retain white-collar, professional, managerial and executive staff. There is no better way to increase an employee’s access to his or her family and community than to permit full-time or part-time use of the home workplace.
7. RATIONALIZE ACQUISITION OF SUPPLIES, SERVICES AND SUPPORT
Assessment of the organization’s work flow, and consideration of the work items and individual employee workplaces separately, will (when combined with actual physical decentralization) in some cases highlight opportunities for rationalization of how the organization purchases and internally distributes goods and services for its own consumption. This may in some cases also improve supply logistics. While this is a by-product benefit of decentralizing, the savings and other benefits can be considerable.