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Home is where the work is

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If you are reading this bulletin in your home office, bravo. You are celebrating National Work from Home Day – and indeed Work Wise Week – in the best possible way. If you are reading this in your office office, commiserations.

Flexibility for parents made its way into the Queen’s Speech on 9 May, even though the right for all workers to request flexible working arrangements did not.

And news that thousands of civil servants will be allowed to work from home for the seven weeks of the Olympics should prove an interesting test case. Will government grind to a halt as permanent secretaries watch the 100m final – or will the removal of the tea trolley lead to a spurt of productivity?

A survey of over 1,000 bosses carried out by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) revealed that almost half (48%) of the organisations do not have a plan in place to cope with the impact of the Olympics on employees. Just a third (32%) reported that they would be implementing a work-from-home strategy and only 53% would be offered flexible working.

Charles Elvin, chief executive of the Institute of Leadership & Management, welcomed National Work from Home Day (Friday 18 May), saying it was “an important reminder to businesses of the smarter and more flexible ways of working that are available to them. With the Olympics now just 70 days away, many London and South-East based businesses will be looking for ways to avoid rush hour commuting and businesses should seize this opportunity to trial home or other flexible working options to see how the business can operate remotely.

“The biggest barrier to home working is the attitudes and culture in organisations that tend to be more traditional. Unfortunately many bosses simply do not trust their staff to work effectively from home and tend to associate it with slacking off.”

David Lennan, former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce and a founding director of StaffShare, commented: “There are a range of innovative business management practices that have emerged which have changed the way we work. Smarter working practices have developed as a result of technological advancement and enable a far better use of limited resources and time.

“Secondment and skill sharing is another innovative business practice which is just emerging. During these difficult times, this new smarter way of managing staff is proving an effective alternative to redundancy in many cases, and provides the flexibility to allow organisations to react when the upturn comes.”

This marks the seventh consecutive year of Work Wise Week, once again featuring the hugely successful National Work from Home Day.