More working from home, please!

Gary, the Sports Presenter from the Today Programme, couldn't make it through the snow this morning and did his sports bit from his own house! This is good, because it shows that even the Today Programme presenters can 'work from home'!! Hooray!

Why aren't we doing more of this? Why do we all insist on piling into trains, getting into cars and criss crossing the country making ourselves tired and ruining the planet?

It drives me crazy that we don't take advantage of how technology is able to free us and instead just let it enslave us - after all in the UK we work the longest hours and are the least productive country in Europe - or at least we used to be, I don't know how EU enlargement has impacted that.

Of course, the problem here is 'Bosses' because a culture that allows working from home can only come from the top - if your boss doesn't approve, well, you just don't work from home, do you?

And yet, I find it completely illogical that more Bosses don't see the benefits to their teams and therefore themselves of regular 'working from home' - it's almost as if, because they had to sacrifice a home life in order to spend 3 hours a day commuting to and from an office they think that's the only way to succeed. Or, maybe they just want the rest of us to suffer like they do....

In fact, in a number of organisations that I've wroked with, it's only the top Bosses that are allowed to work from home - it's almost as if it's seen as a reward for having practically worked yourself into an early have to nearly ruin yourself and your family first; what a waste!

There are obviously times when a team needs to get together and work together but I know lots of organisations that , due to historical mergers, operate over multiple sites, hundreds of miles from each other. There are also obviously jobs that can't be done remotely! But these are often the exception. Blimey, if Gary from the Today Programme can work from home, many of the rest of us probably can!

So, they know the technology supports remote working; the economics supports remote working; society supports remote working - for goodness sake in the UK we spend less time with our kids than any other country in Europe, yet lock more of them up when they commit crimes - just think what a difference having an adult around after school could make to so many teenagers!

Many organisations have looked at home working as a way on cutting down the number of desks and space needed; they've sold it in to their senior management as a cost saving idea and consequently, it has failed because that's not what it's really about. (Note: ID Card people - if you're not honest about the real benefits of a course of action, it is very likely to fail)

I think home working, working from home, remote working, whatever you want to call it, needs to be sold in to organisations on the basis of their Corporate Social Responsibility - to flexible working, to being a good employer, to being more productive, to lessening the carbon foot print of the organisation, to having, basically, a slightly less frazzled work force!

Just think, if just half of us, could spend one day out of five working on a PC or a laptop from home, instead of traipsing into the office what that could do for reduction in CO2 emissions, traffic, accidents and our ability to organise delivery and repair people - just that last bit would reduce massive stress in so many people!

Thanks, Gary from the Today Programme!!


Simon said...
8 Feb 2007, 10:47:00

Good post.

It does make sense to have more home working. Very few people could work at home all the time, and many jobs can't be done at home. I for example would need so much equipment, and it's only a ten minute walk anyway.

But I agree there needs to be more flexibility where it can happen. We have a per week number of hours and a "core hours" rule. This could be more flexible.

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