For many of us, the ability to work from home was something we dreamed of. Not having to do the daily commute to the office, endless meetings, people popping by your desk for a chat… Compared to a quiet day just getting down to those endless emails and jobs that need doing with no interruptions and with the ability to concentrate.
Of course you have to be careful what you wish for as now all of us are working from home whether we like it or not – and there are plenty who hate the quiet and hanker back to the days of non-stop chat and noise of the office. For those with children at home there is no such thing as a quiet day with no interruptions so finding time to concentrate is harder than ever.
But for many of us, the ability to work from home during lockdown has opened up a new way of working and there are a number who want to keep that going at least for a few days a week. Many a boss has now discovered that their staff do work well from home, are still engaged and responsive and as a bonus they are getting more done themselves. It’s going to be a new world when we all emerge from lockdown.
Corporate travellers have always had the ability to work from anywhere. Airport lounge, hotel room, coffee shop, on a plane, nowhere has been off limits. They have years of experience of finding the right spot to sit quietly and get some work done.
A laptop, smart phone and occasional but good WiFi are the only requirements so while they are missing the travel part of their job they are well versed in getting on with the job in hand whenever and wherever. They definitely had a head start and didn’t need any time to get up to speed under the new normal conditions.
The use of Teams, Zoom, Skype and other video conferences technology has increased dramatically and for a business traveller those platforms have become even more essential to keep in touch with their clients and customers overseas. These platforms do require good WiFi however and now everyone appreciates how difficult it is when WiFi is patchy and the importance of not letting the children download a film just as you are about to start a Zoom meeting.
It is interesting to witness those for whom remote working was never required, now showing greater respect for those who had to do it on a daily or weekly basis. The reliance on technology is key. Without good WiFi, phone, fully operational laptop and those video conferencing platforms it is very difficult to keep in touch and work efficiently. Add in time differences and corporate travellers are now seen in a different light.
The Blue Swan Daily ran a story last month about the best airports for remote working and promised we would also take a look at what cities are the best for home working.
BroadbandDeals has created an index of the best cities to live in if you are going to have to work from home. They took into account not just the essential internet speed available in the city, but also the availability of fast food delivery, the number of jobs available that need home workers and also the cost of a laptop and the cost of living.
Top of the list came Bucharest with a fairly high internet speed and a high percentage of remote working jobs. Next were Houston, Las Vegas and Atlanta, followed by Budapest. In fact the top 10 is entirely made up of cities in Eastern Europe and the United States. Looking specifically at the number of jobs available, then San Francisco and Bucharest are the best with 4% of jobs being remote. For the lowest cost of living, the best cities were Kiev and Warsaw.
At the other end of the scale, the worst cities largely due to low internet speeds and low percentage of remote working jobs available, was topped by Rome, with Milan, Seoul and Paris close behind. Other cities in the top 10 include Hamburg, Amsterdam, London, Cologne, Munich and Manchester. This is a particularly disappointing list given that these are amongst the busiest cities in Europe and key business travel markets.
As lockdown eases around the world it is believed more and more people will continue to work from home so it can only be hoped that these cities start to improve their internet speeds. It’s almost certain that more companies will now see the value in having people work from home so the number of jobs available will increase.
There will be benefits from this enforced lockdown and as corporate travellers already know, it really is easy to work remotely with the right tools, some techy knowhow and of course that all important WiFi connection.