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The place does not matter, as long as the work gets done.Employees love it, the environment likes it, powers-that-be support it, so get to it.

“WE regretfully decline comment – our policy is not to participate in this – unfortunately we cannot comply at this time.” This was the strand of the commentary from a good handful of Finnish companies when approached about teleworking. Perhaps it is the recession and the layoffs that make companies cautious. But forward-looking openness is exactly what is needed in these times, so let’s talk about teleworking – taking work to the people, not vice versa.

“Work is not a place but a series of tasks.”

When it comes to big business, Microsoft is among the biggest, and they are fully supportive of teleworking, as exemplified by their statement that “Work is not a place but a series of tasks,” and also in view of the fact that they are not brushing the teleworking concept under the carpet, away from staff eyes.

“Our company supports flexible workplace arrangements; the place does not matter, as long as the work gets done. Some of the people based in our Espoo office live in different Finnish cities, and this is no problem. Most of them telework on 1-2 days per week, depending on the situation,” says Pertti Kokko, Sales Manager for Microsoft Finland.

Microsoft Finland introduced teleworking to provide their staff with freedom and flexibility in work arrangements and explore the possibilities of technology; they were also able to avoid relocating or renting another floor in the building.

How does Microsoft ensure that work gets done when out of the office? “Well, if you have employees present at the office, how can the boss tell that they are working efficiently or just fooling around? Control is not the answer; it is more a question of leadership and self-management. With our people, the more probable issue is how they can avoid working too much. We do have targets and clear indicators to measure them, both at employee and team level and on the level of the Finnish subsidiary, to make sure that the company can meet its financial goals.”

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Mika Oksanen
Helsinki Times
LEHTIKUVA / SARI GUSTAFSSON

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