Flexible working – you know it makes sense.
OK in certain circumstances you can't work from home, but for those of us who just need a bog-standard word processor, email and maybe access to a smidgen of back-office data.
Just think of all that time wasted battling through London's transport infrastructure, especially when six evenly distributed snowflakes settle on railways lines leading to Paddington, Euston, King's Cross, Liverpool Street, Victoria and Waterloo.
And now the TUC and the CBI seem to agree that flexible working is the way forward.
The perennial opponents joined forces with lobby group Work Wise UK earlier this week to sign a new concordat committing them to promote the "development and implementation of smarter worker practices" as part of a programme to significantly increased adoption of flexible working practices by 2011.
The proposals seem wholly positive for people's work-life balance and, according to the concordat, major environmental benefits will also accrue if flexible working takes off, including:
- Reduced congestion, for example, through staggered travelling hours.
- Reduced emissions, which will benefit noise and overall pollution levels.
- Better utilisation of the capacity of our existing transport infrastructure.
- Reducing the need for future additional infrastructure.
- Slowing down climate change.
- Making our air cleaner to breathe.
Meanwhile, new legislation is also playing a role in encouraging flexible working with a recently introduced law meaning that from April this year anyone who is a registered carer will have a legal right to ask their employer for flexible working conditions.
The downside of this drive towards flexible working practices for many businesses is that IT managers and helpdesks will have to roll out infrastructure to support home working initiatives. But personally if I don't have to commute for two hours per day, that's two hours extra work I could be doing, putting extra wonga on the firm's bottom line, and probably paying for any such rollouts pretty quickly.
Firms wishing to embrace flexible working can join companies such as BT and Transport for London by signing up to the concordat by emailing [email protected]
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