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02 February 2012

Microsoft Sweden Proclaims "Work From Home Day"

logo Next Wednesday, 8 February, Microsoft Sweden has called for a national “Work from home day”. Their offices will be closed and everyone will be working from home. Microsoft also urges other companies to follow their example and do the same.

Technically possible
Today people can have conferences over the internet and share information in the cloud, so in many cases physical meetings are no longer necessary. Microsoft is doing a lot to extend these possibilities, with products like SharePoint, Office 365 and now also Skype, so the “Work from home day” is not just an altruistic project. Naturally Microsoft wants people to use more of these tools!

Advantages
Apart from the Microsoft business aspect there are however several advantages with working from home. I should know, because I always do it. kalmstrom.com Business Solutions uses the Microsoft platforms mentioned above, as well as some of our own Outlook applications, to make it possible to work with a geographically distributed team of experts.

Working from home gives me several benefits:
  • I don’t have to spend time travelling to my work place.

  • I don’t have to pollute the earth while going there.

  • I don’t have to follow strict working hours as long as I am online and reachable during a better part of the day.

  • I can arrange my work space just as I want it, and it is nice and quiet
  • I don’t have to dress up!

Loneliness
But working from home is not only a bed of roses. The most obvious drawback is perhaps that you feel lonely when you don't meet with your work mates in person. That can be solved, though, if you work only part of the hours from home, maybe two or three days a week.

Practical difficulties
I think it can be harder to solve practical issues like safety measures, security and equipment. If you work from home on a regular basis, you cannot sit at the kitchen table or in a sofa. You need a good space for a workstation with the necessary communication and sharing tools. The place must be efficient, comfortable and secure, and you need backup for internet and maybe also for electricity.

All that costs money, and who pays? In my case it was easy, since I am one of three company owners, but with a big group of employees spread out in their homes you get a more complicated situation. The more security and special equipment an employee needs, the more difficult it will be to find a solution for working from home.

Future way of working?
I think the Microsoft initiative in Sweden is good. It can give people and organizations a kick to start discussing the matter of working from home more seriously than before. If all parties make an effort, I am sure the problems can be solved for more people than today. Many wish to work from home for at least some days a week, and we will probably see more of that in the future. So I wish Microsoft Sweden good luck with the “Work from home day”. I will certainly work from my home that day - and all other days also!