A new trial has begun to investigate whether businesses can benefit from a new virtual world called "Home". The concept, which uses online avatars (virtual people) like those used in Second Life , is designed to help senior leaders communicate across the globe using PlayStation game technology. The idea is that it will help executives cut back on business travel and reduce office space due to increased mobile and home-based working.
Among the companies taking part in the trial are Microsoft, Merrill Lynch and Royal Bank of Scotland. Dr Nipan Maniar, who is leading the project, concedes that as most of the pilot users are senior , they may struggle with the games console concept, which will be far more familiar to their children.
Homeworking can be a big money saver for business and can reduce CO2 emissions. According to BT (which admittedly has a vested interest in increased homeworking), having 70,000 flexible workers has helped it save £500 million in building costs and 100,000 tonnes of CO2 - and a 30% rise in productivity.
Homeworking is just one way that organisations can cut costs. Some are choosing to cut hours and introduce other forms of flexible working to help reduce the impact of the recession. If you would like to take part in IRS research on the latest trends in flexible working - and receive a free report of our findings - please proceed via this link: flexible working survey.