Anywhere Working Week
Turning away from the budget for a minute, I am pleased to report that we are currently in the middle of Anywhere Working Week. This is therefore an excellent time to think about how the proper use of new technology and new forms of working can generate mutual benefits for employees and employers alike. The big question is “why on earth do we still travel into the office every day and have endless face-to-face meetings when computer and phone technology means that many of of could work from home, or from other locations?”
This is still a big issue for employees. The official Work-Life Balance Survey shows that 5 million more employees would like flexi-time and 4.5 million would like to work from home at least some of the time. This issue will be even more sharply felt when the economy recovers, and attention turns from “i’m worried about my job” back to “what kind of job have I got”.
This ought to be a big issue for employers now though, because there is evidence from a number of sources that well-run homeworking schemes boost productivity, and home-working and flexible working take some pressure off of offices and car parks, thus limiting employers costs.
Unfortunately, there is still all to often a fear amongst middle managers that they will not be able manage new patterns of work, or that they will lose their role. Business cannot afford to be held back by such fears, but chnage needs to be well led, well communicated, and the role of middle managers properly evolved to fit the changing world of work.
If we succeed in delivering smarter working practices like anywhere working, we will also cut down on the volume of commuting, which will yield benefits in terms of reduced congestion and emmissions.
Anywhere working is a coalition involving a diverse range of players, including the TUC, Business in the Community, the DfT, Mumsnet, WWF and a range of major IT and phone companies
Find out more about Anywhere Working Week: www.anywhereworking.org