Britain is attempting to catch up with the rest of Europe in terms of providing its employees with the opportunity of working from home. It is one of the least flexible countries in the EU when it comes to allowing its workforce the opportunity to telework. But will this provide the opportunity for staff to play online games like poker or casino?
Only 20% of UK employees are given the opportunity to work from home, compared to countries like Denmark and Germany which have twice the numbers of people working from home.
However, this is likely to change dramatically in the near future, as many large organisations are putting plans together to ensure more and more employees are enticed to work from home. Companies like HSBC, Britain’s largest bank, threw its weight behind a program to remove 4000 of its London based staff from the group’s Canary Wharf building and get them working from home. Its latest challenge is to have around 50% of its headquarters empty in order to sub-let to someone else. It suggests the advances in technology should provide more of an opportunity for its staff in making the choice to come in to the office or work from home.
A report of the Chamber of Commerce last April showed that 38% of businesses offered staff the opportunity to work from home. A survey of its members suggested that 75% were engaged in providing some form of home work. One similar survey conducted by Peninsula, an employment law firm, suggested that 91% of workers polled, said they would love to work from home.
But how does working from home affect people’s work rate, and will it lead to abuse of company time. Will people, who are not being managed during office hours, use company time to go online and spend time looking at poker sites and other online gambling sites? Certainly in the office there are ways to block access to specific websites. However, working from home will provide less of an opportunity to prevent people from visiting online poker sites.
While it is estimated that home workers are 20% more productive and that absenteeism is down 63% for staff who work from home, it cannot be ignored that employees may utilise company laptops and company time to play online poker. Indeed jobs that do not require constant involvement, perhaps business development or customer services, where phone work or computer time may be sporadic, will offer gaps during the day which allow people to view the internet for brief moments, or perhaps keep an online poker game running in the background.
There are dangers in allowing more people to work from home. The social interaction that is gained at work disappears. Some people can become distant and feel isolated from the organisations they work for if they work continuously work at home. Surely this is another reason to believe that workers will search for other forms of communication during home office spells.
Online poker games provide a further level of social interaction which can fill that gap. Chat rooms and interactive gambling games provide players with the opportunity to meet and greet people while having fun attempting to win money online.
So while we would all love to work from home it seems, it cannot be ignored that there is potential for isolation that will only lead to the search for improved social communication and perhaps an increase in the desire to play poker games online.