‘Mobile working the answer to burgeoning city populations’

City populations are set to double over the next 40 years causing more traffic and more hours wasted on commuting, a conference on flexible working was told yesterday.

City populations are set to double over the next 40 years causing more traffic and more hours wasted on commuting, a conference on flexible working was told yesterday.

The Anywhere Working Consortium conference heard that over half of people were commuting at least 41 minutes each way to work, but only 12.3% wanted to work from home.

This was because many felt there were too many distractions at home, such as pets. They preferred to have a range of places where they could work, including cafés or office hubs, and they wanted these to be fairly close to home. The ideal commute for over 63% of people was somewhere under 20 minutes from home, with around 25% favouring somewhere less than 10 minutes away.

Celia Donne, regional director of office accommodation provider Regus, said there was a “misconception that productivity drops when people work away from the office”. The vast majority of people, when questioned, believed the next generation – Generation Z – would reject the traditional office as a place of work and over half of employers think the office will be only a place for occasional use.

The conference heard the economic case for switching to more mobile working. Regus outlined the savings a London company with around 1,500 employees could make on real estate through encouraging more mobile working. It calculated that between £5-10m could be saved a year since over half of office space went unused.

The conference also heard from environment experts about the health benefits of cutting community and from transport experts, particularly with regard to the benefits of flexible working during the Olympics. The consortium is backed by the Department of Transport and Under-Secretary of State for Transport Norman Baker addressed the conference.

Later this month the consortium will be holding a mobile working week where businesses are encouraged to go mobile and evaluate the savings they have made.





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