We have all heard of the merits of flexible working: you can work from home; it can be more productive; it's better for the environment; and now, thanks to recent technological advances, it's even easier to base yourself out of the office. The time saved in front of your remote screen might otherwise be wasted on an unproductive journey, when it can be impossible to read or write on the way to and from work.

Working remotely is not a new idea and teleworking as a concept has been around for many years. In 2007 more than 40% of companies offered teleworking opportunities. However what is new, are the advances in software and hardware that facilitate remote working. Thanks to Microsoft Office Excel 2010, it's now easy to set up and use any remote connection to create workbooks and spreadsheets - and it's secure and robust.

Obviously working from home does have some potential pitfalls, including the lack of human contact and interaction. But for most of us it means there's no commute - and you save money and time. Your employer can save, too, by making use of hot desking and downsizing premises, all resulting in lower fuel bills and running costs.

Yes, flexible working is definitely the way forward. Staff have the opportunity to work wherever they are, right around the clock, thanks to secure and unlimited access to critical information. And with Excel 2010 you can increase personal productivity, enhance mobility and flexibility, and make communication across different time zones much easier.

Even if you are not based in the comfort of a home office, it's still easy to access your workbooks while you're out and about. This means that whether you're working on financial spreadsheets or travel expenses Excel 2010 makes it easier to get what you need done quickly, with more flexibility, and with better results.

There are powerful new features and tools to help you discover patterns or trends that can lead to more informed decisions and improve your ability to analyse large data sets. Excel 2010 delivers a visual summary of your data using tiny charts that fit within a cell alongside your text data with new Sparklines. You can quickly, intuitively filter large amounts of information using new Slicer functionality and enhance your PivotTable and PivotChart visual analysis.

And there are even more refinements and performance improvements in Excel 2010 that make it easier and faster for you to accomplish your work. For example, by using the new Search Filter you can quickly narrow down the available filter options in your tables, PivotTable, and PivotChart views. It's easy to find exactly what you are looking for from up to a million or more items, instantly.

PowerPivot for Excel 2010, is a free add-in, and allows you to experience fast manipulation of large data sets (often in millions of rows) and streamlined data integration. And you can effortlessly share your analysis through SharePoint Server 2010 which is easy to add on to your system.

Excel 2010 enables people to work together on workbooks, enhancing a team effort. And colleagues who have previous versions of Excel can still participate seamlessly. You can work with other people simultaneously on the same workbook in almost any Web browser using Excel Web App. SharePoint Excel Services lets you share easy-to-read workbooks in a Web browser with your team while maintaining a single version of the workbook.

You can view and edit your workbooks in a Web browser using SharePoint Foundation 2010 or a Windows Live ID. And Microsoft Excel Mobile 2010 brings a mobile version of Excel specifically suited to your Windows phone. It's easy to use with an appropriate device, and Excel Mobile 2010 comes pre-installed on Windows phones (Windows Mobile 6.5 or later).

Now that Microsoft Excel 2010 makes it possible to analyse, manage, and share information in more ways than ever before, it looks like it could be time to leave the gridlock behind.