Enabling remote working

Home officeThis toolkit has information on options for reducing the need to travel to work including website links and lots of useful ideas.

This toolkit offers information on:

With technology transforming our working lives employees can now work from home, hold meetings by telephone or video conferencing, or work a condensed week. Reducing the need to travel to work can benefit the employer by:

  • Making more efficient use of workspaces by having more staff working from home or at work hubs;
  • Increasing staff morale by allowing flexible options for staff with difficult or stressful journeys;
  • Being s a considerate employer,
  • Increasing the safety of staff in bad weather conditions.

Allowing staff to work from home one or more days a week can benefit both you and your staff. There is a high demand from employees in the UK to work more flexibly. According to a study by Citrix and Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr), 96 per cent of the working population would take advantage of flexible working if it were made available to them, and 94 per cent of UK knowledge workers would opt to work from home on average 2 days a week.

According to a survey by Ipsos MORI on flexible working, commissioned by the Anywhere Working Group:

  • 70 per cent of British office workers who are able to work away from the office, say they can get ‘more done’ working away from the office
  • Over one third (38 percent) say they can be more creative when they are able to work flexibly
  • Nearly half (47 percent) make a conscious attempt to be extra visible by sending more emails and making more phone calls
  • Almost one in three (30 per cent) feel guilty about not being in the office, with 39 per cent working longer hours to prove they are not ‘shirking from home’.

A wide variety of options are available ranging from multi user telephone conversions with options for screen sharing through to full video conferencing facilities. Video and telephone conferencing is a cost-effective way to avoid travel and reduce business mileage when meetings do not require face-to-face presence.

A flexible working scheme usually involves working a set of “core hours” – perhaps 10am until 4pm, with the ability to vary the hours either side of this. Flexible working hours allow staff to avoid busy roads on peak time, thereby reducing commute time and costs. Additionally, flexibility in working hours can help accommodate time and schedule constraints that hinder staff from cycling and walking using the bus to get to work. By allowing some flexibility, it can also facilitate car sharing between staff with different working hours.

An increasingly popular option is the ‘compressed working week’ where staff condense their working week or fortnight by working longer days:

  • 4 day week – staff work their weekly hours over four days instead of the usual five and have an additional day off per week. On a 40 hour week this would involve 4 x 10 hour days rather than 5 x 8 hour days.
  • 9 day fortnight – staff work two weeks’ worth of hours over nine days instead of the usual ten and have an additional day off every fortnight. On a 40 hour week this would involve 8 x 9 hour days and 1 x 8 hour day rather than 10 x 8 hour days.

Both a 4 day week and 9 day fortnight give staff some flexibility in their travel to work by enabling them to leave earlier or to stay at home. Higher flexibility helps to reduce the need for car use and to overcome time- and schedule-related barriers for active travel and public transport.

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