A burgeoning breed of ‘techno-commuters’ is using fast, newly affordable broadband connections to hold down city jobs without sacrificing rural isolation.
(Andrew Bolger FT.com September 2nd 2007)
Homeworkers, defined as “people who work mainly in their own home, or in different places using home as a base”, made up 11 per cent of the total workforce in 2005, according to the Office of National Statistics. Some 8 per cent were defined as teleworkers, using the ONS definition of homeworkers who use both a telephone and a computer.
Work Wise UK, a not-for-profit initiative backed by the CBI employers’ body and the Trades Union Congress to promote wider adoption of smarter working practices, believes that this can be extended to up to 50 per cent of the workforce within five years.
Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, said: “There are numerous reports indicating the UK’s poor productivity compared with competitors. But we would not need to work such long hours, to the detriment of family and personal life, if we used the smarter working practices.”
The UK leads the world in the availability of affordable broadband connections, with 99.6 per cent of the population having access to terrestrial broadband – ahead of South Korea, Japan, France and the US, according to international league tables.
Work Wise UK argues such practices could improve productivity and reduce traffic congestion, overcrowding and pollution. But the Equal Opportunities Commission recently warned the UK was significantly lagging behind its European competitors on allowing such practices.
Mr Flaxton said in Germany and Sweden, the percentage of companies practising flexi-time was, at 90 per cent, almost double that in the UK at just 48 per cent. In Germany, Sweden and Denmark, 40 per cent of employers had staff involved in teleworking – compared with 20 per cent in the UK.
More: Click here to read the full article (FT.com September 2nd 2007)