The Shifting Nature of Work–Teleworking in the UK

One of the simplest aspects of the Hybrid or Unfettered Organisation to implement is allowing employees to work from home.  Never mind about smaller cores and engaging a flexible pool of sovereign professionals, just let those who want to, and who can, stay at home occasionally.

Technology continues to make this option ever easier with the prevalence of broadband (even if the high-speed variety remains elusive for many), instant messaging and cheap, but powerful web-cams.

A new report from the Telework Research Centre, “The Shifting Nature of Work in the UK – Bottom Line Benefits of Telework” (available here) attaches some very persuasive numbers to the whole concept.  Apparently, UK companies that allow employees to work from home just two days a week on average benefit from:

  • a 20% increase in productivity;
  • a 15% saving in real estate costs; and
  • a 7% reduction in absenteeism.

Were the UK government to lead the way by allowing its 430,000 office-based central government workers to work from home two days a week, this could apparently reduce the nation’s deficit by over £1.3 billion per year, mainly through savings in property costs and increased productivity.

And if, across the UK, those with suitable jobs and desire worked from home two days a week, it would be the equivalent of taking 2/3 of London workers off the road. “Individual, company, and community savings would total over £32 billion a year.”

Those are hugely persuasive numbers which sit well with previous reports from the likes of Penna, which last year reported on the potential for flexible working to benefit the public sector, and the CBI, which reported upon how flexible working was helping both employers and employees through the recession.

The research was conducted by the Telework Research Centre, sponsored by Citrix Online UK, and conducted in cooperation with Flexibility.co.uk and Wisework Ltd.

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About Andrew Munro

An independent business consultant, interim manager and writer, Andrew operates through his company, Burning Pine Ltd (http://burningpine.com).
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