The current economic turmoil is expected to make more employers look at the benefits of smarter working for their staff, an industry group said today.
“The economic downturn means organisations are trying to save money and boost productivity – which means managers are more likely to consider allowing staff to work and commute smarter,” says Phil Flaxton of Work Wise UK.
“The benefits of smarter working include lower overheads for employers, more productivity, and a demonstrable commitment to the environment. But, overall, smarter working practices mean happier employees.
“Employees themselves are looking to cut the costs of commuting. Fuel price increases, rises in mortgages and the growing general costs of living means everyone is tightening their belts.”
Phil Flaxton was speaking ahead of National Commute Smart Week (October 26 to November 1) which aims to draw attention to wasted time and resources which result from work-related travel and commuting to work at peak times. Starting the day after the clocks go back, Commute Smart Week will also highlight a number of ways of avoiding the misery of travelling to and from work in the dark, and the depression and despondency that many experience as a result, by working and commuting smarter.
Flexible working times (including flexitime, condensed hours and nine day fortnights), staggered journeys and part home working, reduce the overall need to commute, and allow people to avoid peak times.
Trying alternative ways of commuting, such as cycling or walking, can also help reduce congestion and public transport overcrowding, and at the same time significantly improve health and wellbeing.
The knock-on effect of reducing overall traffic congestion and public transport overcrowding by extending the rush hour and reducing peak demand through smarter working and commuting will make the daily commute more bearable for those workers who have no choice when and how to travel.
National Commute Smart Week this year will have five themes, one for each weekday:
· Flexible working and travel plans
· Road congestion and road safety (including car sharing)
· Cycling (why spend hours in the gym?)
· Walking (get off a stop or station early and walk)
· Health benefits of smarter working and commuting
Smarter working and commuting may also help mitigate the significant increase in deaths and injuries that occur on our roads during the winter months, many of which are schoolchildren.
A number of spokespersons will be available from Work Wise UK and from organisations which successfully practise smarter working, both national and regional. Work Wise UK will be publishing a series of tips and guidance on working smarter, which will be circulated to the media and uploaded on the Work Wise website prior to National Commute Smart Week.
Further information will be issued the week before but if you have any advance requests, please contact the press office below.
Further details about Work Wise UK can be found on the website (www.workwiseuk.org). There is also a dedicated pressroom available through the website or directly at www.workwiseuk.pressrooms.net.