Flexible working can help save the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, academics claimed today.
An Oxford University study said that the reduction in commuting time resulting from people working at home will mean less carbon dioxide, one of the gases that causes global warming, being released into the atmosphere.
However, the research warned that, while more and more people want to work from home, the benefits are being undermined by poor co-operation by government and business over issues such as transport and the provision of IT.
"The research is clear: working from home really can help reduce our carbon footprint as a country if we manage it correctly," said Professor David Banister, one of the authors of the study.
"Managing home working correctly will involve changes in behaviour. This would include providing secure and efficient technology to facilitate collaboration, as well as properly managing heating at the employers end and the reduction of office space and heating costs at the employee's end.
"If people work more than one day a week from home, significant environmental savings can be made."
The study argues for more coherent policies to take advantage of the environmental savings that could be made from more sensible working policies.
"Working from home has not featured very highly in government policy and there has not been any clear statement or encouragement from central or local government," said Professor Banister.
"There is an opportunity for teleworking to sit at the heart of a co-ordinated policy that could involve sustainable transport."
He added that home working would only really take-off with either a carbon-tax or tax incentives by the government.
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