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] traffic."

• 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.,,170-685017,00.html