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Millions quit the commute as National Work from Home Day begins

15th May 2008
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HRzone
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An estimated 5 million workers across the UK will realise the benefits of working from home today, Thursday 15 May.

The aim of 'National Work from Home Day' is to allow people the opportunity to demonstrate that working from home can reduce stress and boost productivity.

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, the not-for-profit organisation behind National Work from Home Day, said: "This is not a utopia. This will be reality as smarter working practices, such as home working, become more widely adopted."

The day is supported by the Trades Union Congress. Its general secretary Brendan Barber said that being able to work from home every now and again is a sensible move for both employees and employers.

"Smart employers know this already," he added. "Now it's time for the rest to wake up to the benefits of flexible working. Employers who fail to move with the times are likely to find their ability to attract and retain the best staff becomes increasingly difficult."

Flaxton is also a keen advocate of the benefits that working from home can have on the environment. The savings in commuter travel by BT home workers is estimated to be over 20 million miles per year.

Further benefits include the cost savings on property. Smarter working has meant that BT has been able to reduce the number of offices it operates. Since 2003, the number has fallen from 159 to 94.

Ntl:Telewest Business further calculates that flexible working policies could save local authorities as much as £1.1 billion in reduced building maintenance alone, as well as improving job satisfaction for its 2.1 million employees.

However, Mark Hutchinson, managing director at ICT solutions provider Telindus, warns that introducing a home working policy is not as simple as flicking a switch.

"It is essential that home workers have access to the same information as they do in the traditional office, rather than a trimmed down version of what is available when they are sat at their desk. Without this support, home working is definitely not wise working."

Nearly 3.5 million people already work from home in the UK – 12.2% or one-in-eight of the working population – an increase of 600,000 since 1997.

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