Remote Working Could Boost Efficiency, Says Govt

Initiative aims to encourage workers to use technology to lighten their travel load

The UK government is promoting remote workingwith the launch of the Anywhere Working initiative, in a bid to reduce waste and make businesses more flexible.

Remote working can offer businesses and their employees a viable alternative to the traditional ways of working, saving time and money as well as reducing emissions caused by travel, said transport minister Norman Baker, launching the initiative at the 8th annual Worktech conference in held in London last week.

Its all about options

“When it comes to alternatives to travel, we are asking how best to harness new technology,” said Baker. “This concept is all about options for working in different ways from high-tech video conferencing to low-tech home working.” In particular, he added, flexibility will help when the upcoming Olympic games  strain public transport infrastructure.

In his speech, Baker stated that a new dimension has opened up, and that advances in communications technology “mean that you can circumnavigate the globe, virtually, from the comfort of your own front room.”

While telecommuting has been employed by some for several years, it remains in the margins and fringes. Baker believes that this initiative will help bring new strategies for working into the mainstream. ” Run by business for business, it will provide examples and advice to companies on travel alternatives. It will offer technology trials, well-being services and online training, providing tools to enable employees and their organisations to try something different.”

Following a planning period throughout November and December, the consortium will launch an online hub of resources for businesses in January 2012, which will include training, trial technology and best practice case studies. This will be followed by a series of interactive events for employers and employees during Anywhere Working Week, which will take place in February 2012. This is according to a statement released by Microsoft, one of the consortium’s founding members. Other founding members include Business in the Community (BITC), Nuffield, Regus and Vodafone UK. It also has the backing of organisations such as Transport for London (TFL) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

To coincide with this announcement, Transport for London released a smarter working guide on 21 November, which “demonstrates the benefits of smarter working for business in financial, environmental and corporate social responsibility terms, as well as the wider economic and health benefits.”