From the TUC

Anywhere Working Week

01 Mar 2012, by in Working Life

The TUC is a supporter of the Anywhere Working campaign, which brings together organisations like Business in the Community, WWF-UK and Mumsnet with big companies like Microsoft, Regus and Vodafone to promote a new ways of flexible working. We are currently holding Anywhere Working Week to help promote flexibility:

It is certainly true that developments in technology mean that many of us could work from home, or in a business drop-in centre or some other location rather than trekking into the office. Developments in technology have also made video conferences and other forms of virtual meeting a lot easier and more effective.

Research commissioned by Microsoft* suggets that more firms are offering flexible working, but they are not rolling it out very effectively. In addition, it identifies some tensions between staff who can work flexibly and those who are unable to do so.

There really should be a win-win-win outcome achievable here:

  • about one in five employees wants to work from home or to work more flexibly (Source: third Work Life Balance survey)
  • Employers often report higher productivity and retention for homeworkers and flexible workers. They may also save on office space.
  • We all benefit if we can reduce travel congestion and emissions. 

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber says “If managed properly, more flexible working can generate huge dividends – for the organisation, and individual employees and their families. Of course not every job can be done from a variety of different locations, but there is still a great potential for change. The onus must be on employers to make remote working, home working and other forms of flexibility available to as many staff as possible, taking care to explain what it might mean for individual jobs. Then new ways of working are more likely to be accepted, and employees will be able to spend more time working, and less time commuting and travelling to unnecessary business meetings on the UK’s overcrowded roads and public transport network.”

*”Attitudes towards flexible working” A study by Microsoft/ Vanson Bourne

Anywhere Working Website: http://www.anywhereworking.org/

Anywhere Working Week: http://www.anywhereworking.org/tag/anywhere-working-week/

2 Responses to Anywhere Working Week

  1. Clare Fernyhough
    Mar 2nd 2012, 11:25 am

    Being largely house bound due to being ill, I was looking for any opportunity to work from home, especially after I saw jobs advertised in the U.S. for call center workers (I have a degree, but I wouldn’t mind working in a job like that).

    Sure enough, such jobs have started to appear in the U.K., but their terms and conditions are much worse than working away from home. You are not allowed to use a wireless connection or laptop, and must have a dedicated office space, which scuppers that for me since I cannot sit for any length even in my adapted office chair now. Also, although they say you can choose your own hours, it doesn’t pan out like this; you must work the hours dictated to you in your contract, which is fair enough I suppose, but I couldn’t stick to the rigidity of a fixed time due to illness. Furthermore, although the sites say you can take time off by giving 48 hours notice, and take holidays, it advises against this as you may lose any particular contract. So, no days off to got to the doctors or hospital and no holidays: hardly ‘flexible’. As for pay, when you consider that you have to buy ALL of your equipment up-front and maintain it, a computer of their specification, call-center telephone and headset, installation of a separate line, etc, and you are generally paid little more than minimum wage, it seems hardly worth it. You would think that the savings companies make on maintaining a call center business might at least mean that wages paid are a little higher than the minimum.

    So, another idea hits the dust for me. Looks like I’ll lose everything due to Welfare Reform anyway, unless anyone has any ideas?

  2. Paul Sellers

    Paul Sellers
    Mar 2nd 2012, 12:14 pm

    Can anybody offer Clare any advice or help? Any information about companies that do better than Clare describes?