Working from home where's
the media coverage?
Given the major problems of road traffic congestion, pollution,
fossil fuel usage and road accidents (a far bigger cause of
deaths than terrorism), you'd think an effective, easy-to-implement
solution (such as encouraging companies to allow staff to
work from home) would attract major media coverage, but it
seems conspicuous by its absence.
We suspect the primary resistance is from big companies,
which don't like major changes in working practices, despite
their self-congratulatory PR about how "visionary"
and "forward-thinking" they are.
Meanwhile, the UK government announces its own "solutions"
(generating media coverage), the most "forward-thinking"
of which is to widen roads.
Any journalists reading this should consider the following
(we think this issue deserves much more prominent coverage):
A survey of British Telecom home-workers estimated
that 3,149 miles a year, on average, were saved per person
working at home (compared with travelling to the office).
Most of these miles would have been by car rather than by
public transport. (Source: Motors
and Modems revisited, a report by NERA National
Economic Research Associates)
A previous NERA report claimed that working from home
could reduce commuter traffic by 15% and save the country
congestion costs of up to GBP1.3 billion. (Source:
From Motors to Modems, NERA)
According to Edmund King, executive director of the
RAC Foundation: "If each employee could work from
home just one day per week we would see a 20% cut in [road]
A recent report by the Work Foundation think-tank
says: "All the evidence points to homeworking being
remarkably productive. Fewer days are lost to illness, commuter
stress is avoided and there is less time-wasting... In contrast,
office staff are frequently judged by the number of hours
they spend there. In too many organisations, managers reserve
the right to work from home for themselves, but remain suspicious
when staff want to do it." [Our bold]
The report also says that employers need to give up their
"Big Brother" obsession with keeping staff where
they can see them.