South East England has the highest proportion of commuters with the average person spending the equivalent of an additional working day each week commuting, according to workwiseuk. I find these stats quite shocking, even with 12 years experience of living close to London myself. I expect the figure is directly proportional to property prices; there being an optimal balance between cost of commute and rent or mortgage repayments.
The South East already leads the UK with the biggest number of home-workers: approx 600,000 people work from home, almost 15 per cent of the working population, an increase of nearly a quarter in the last decade.
“The benefits of working from home, even occasionally, are now widely accepted,” said Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, the not-for-profit organisation behind the initiative. “Not only does it reduce the amount of commuting people have to do, enhancing their work-life balance, but many are actually more productive.” Work Wise UK provides guidance and assistance through www.workwiseuk.org
A new report has called on organisations in the region to adopt smarter working practices. It identified that “the sustainability of the South East region is at risk from pressures on travel, congestion, skills availability and stress related health problems.”
|The wider adoption of smarter working practices, such as flexible working including compressed working hours and nine day fortnights, working from home. Mobile and remote working will improve business productivity and competitiveness, reduce transport congestion and pollution, improve health, assist disadvantaged groups, and harmonise work and family commitments.This is the perfect area for development of home-working resources. Many among us flinch at the suggestion fearing the familiar distractions of home, the noise from partner/children/neighbours, among many possible disturbances to our concentration. Garden Room companies have formulated new office pods which companies can purchase to drop into gardens and back yards, without planning permission. The benefits include sustainable materials, mobility and high thermal efficiency with the crucial separation from the home.
A final word from Phil: “Work Wise South East wants to revolutionise the way the region works,” said Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK. “The situation will get worse. Over the next ten years, predictions are that there will be a 31 per cent increase in passenger miles by rail and underground, and a 15 per cent increase in bus miles. “
If transport infrastructure cannot sustain our commuting needs, the fear is that workers will migrate to elsewhere. However, if companies incorporate these smarter, greener working practises the region’s productivity and competitiveness can be protected.