Home working was once the domain of the few, from teachers with stacks of exercise books, to executives taking home briefcases full of paperwork. In general, the ‘work’ was limited to what people could carry. Successive generations of technology, from portable laptops to cloud-based services, have all had an impact on what it has been possible to do at home.
Waves of home working
We saw the first wave of technology-driven home working in the 1990s, when the price of personal computers dropped to ‘just’ a few thousand pounds. Most computer-based work took place ‘offline’ with data transfers initially by diskette; then, with the arrival of laptops, documents and data were synchronised by plugging into the corporate network.
Reliable, adequate bandwidth signalled a second wave in home working, initially limited to data transfers via modems and using rudimentary email. The rapid growth of Internet capabilities...