Smart working 'can solve congestion crisis'

The Eddington Report has not taken into consideration one of the most obvious solutions to the problem of transport capacity and congestion, and it is a solution which is both achievable and realistic.

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, says changing work practices and smarter working, such as flexible working, mobile working, remote working and home working, will significantly reduce the need to travel.

“Working 9 to 5, five days a week, at a central location, coupled with the desire to travel many many miles in order to attend meetings, are working practices which are actually largely unnecessary considering the technology available today,” he said.

“This rigid work structure, which is largely dictated by culture and nothing else, is wasteful in terms of time and resources, damaging in terms of the environmental impact, harmful in that it impacts upon stress levels and health.”

Work Wise UK, which has broad backing from business and the unions, supported by the TUC, CBI, BT, and British Chambers of Commerce, is a five-year campaign to encourage smarter working practices.

It was launched in May this year with the objective of half the working population having the opportunity of adopting working practices by 2011.

“Smarter working is a win-win situation,” added Phil Flaxton. “Any costs will be outweighed by an increase in productivity, and the social benefits of an improved work-life balance for employees will be far-reaching.

“Add to that the environmental impact of reduced travel, one of the solutions for the issues raised by the Eddington Report, and the Stern Report, is staring us all in the face.”

Meanwhile a survey, conducted by SonicWALL, indicates that the growing trend towards home working is likely to breed a more productive and liberated international workforce.

76% of employees surveyed believe that working remotely is an aid to productivity and 61% are also convinced that their managers agree with them.

 

7th December 2006

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