Organisations and employees across the UK were today urged to take part in the second annual Work Wise Week to help create a 'smarter' working Britain.
"The age of working nine to five, five days a week, from a central location is for many fast coming to an end," said Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK.
"This rigid work structure, which is largely dictated by culture and nothing else, is wasteful in terms of time and resources, damaging to the environment, and harmful in that it impacts on stress levels and the health of employees."
Work Wise Week 2007 runs from 16 to 22 May. Some of the suggestions being promoted are:
- Allowing staff to come in either an hour later or an hour earlier, with a reciprocal hour shift at the end of the day. This would enable staff to avoid the busiest travel times, effectively staggering the rush hour and making the journey far more tolerable for everyone
- Allowing staff to take a half hour lunch break each day, and then leave at 3.00pm on the last day
- Allowing staff to work from home on Friday May 18, National Work from Home Day. Even a small reduction in the number of people travelling on the roads or by public transport on that day will have a significant effect on congestion and overcrowding
- During Work Wise Week, asking staff to cancel all external face-to-face staff meetings, and hold them by conference call, either video or telephone. This would save time and resources, and reduce congestion and pollution
- Where appropriate, allowing staff to roster their own shifts during the week
"The world of work is changing more rapidly than at any other time in our history," said Robert Ainger, founder member of Orange Future Enterprise Coalition Forum.
"Private, public and third sector organisations are experiencing shifts that make the business models that have worked for decades untenable. The pressure and pace of change feels unrelenting and very few of us truly understand how to adapt.
"However, we must not forget that change is often a positive force that can create opportunities. The challenge for us is learning how to understand and embrace it."
Work Wise UK said that increasing adoption of these sorts of practices will revolutionise the way people work, increase business productivity and competitiveness, reduce transport congestion and pollution, improve health, assist disadvantaged groups, and harmonise work and family commitments.
The objective is for half the working population, some 14 million workers, to have had the opportunity to "work smarter" by 2011.
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