As many small businesses look to save costs and resources, reviewing how many home workers they use is sometimes the first step to realising a more flexible, happier and productive environment. For some organisations, it's the easier way to keep their headcounts and their recruitment costs to a minimum.

When a well known communications provider researched the use of remote working solutions among small and medium sized UK businesses in April last year, it found that 28% more companies claimed to be practising flexible working practices than a year ago. It is thought that as many as 60-70% of small businesses now offer some form of remote working support to their workforces. Technology advances, including the widespread availability of broadband, are making the introduction of remote working even easier. With systems now straightforward to set up, staff can have access to all the resources they have in the office wherever they have an internet connection.

One of these enablers is the widespread access to broadband, which now covers almost all of the country. Indeed one major broadband provider claims to have 99.8% of its exchanges broadband enabled, with alternative plans in place for even the most remote exchanges. Broadband means that remote workers can access email in real time, and take full advantage of services such as internet-based backup or even internet-based phone services. And it now looks likely that Britain's rural broadband network could be revolutionised giving better online connections to millions of people within five years, with a superfast broadband scheme being proposed for 5 million rural homes. This means that UK households could have a 10 gigabit connection, with an impressive ultrafast one gigabit connection available from day one. Although it has been estimated that the UK languishes 27th in the world for broadband, the government is investing over £500m in taking superfast broadband to everyone. Those speeds are more than 10 times faster than the nearest competition and would be among the fastest in the world. So if want to think about how you are going to keep up with the move out of the office, now is a good time take a look at Office 2010.

With the launch of Microsoft 2010, came the web-based version of Office software offering light weight versions of applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. With Microsoft Windows Live customers are estimated to be more than 400 million globally, and they are able to use Office 2010 web version.

Microsoft started moving its applications to the web with the introduction of its search engine, Bing. Obviously the web has a lot to offer in terms of connectivity, and now you can have Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote documents at your fingertips. You can create great documents in Office 2010, then easily post them online to access, edit, and share from virtually anywhere; as long as you have an appropriate device, Internet connection, and access to Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari browsers.

Microsoft Web Apps gives you the tools to create Office 2010 documents, and then easily post your Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote document to free Windows Live SkyDrive on the Web. Simply click Save to Web right from the program you're working in. Then, the next time you have to access the document, simply log on to Windows Live and open your document online. All of the original rich formatting is still there - nothing is lost by posting or editing. You can even make quick edits directly from your Web browser with new Office Web Apps. To do this, choose the Edit in Browser option next to your document on Windows Live. Any changes you make will be saved online. And if you want to share your document with others and even edit the document together in your browser. Just set permission levels, then send an email with a link to the document or folder to invite others to your workspace. All that's needed is an Internet connection and access to the browser software mentioned previously.

By law, companies must "consider seriously" requests to work flexibly made by a parent with a child under the age of six, or a disabled child under 18. For many organisations that still have a relatively young workforce, some of whom might be future parents, it's essential that most of these employees should be able to work at maximum productivity when away from the office. Microsoft Office 2010 offers an ideal partner to home working for anyone who is considering making that move − even on a temporary basis.