Headlines: January 18th, 2012

The Anywhere Working Consortium have launched a new online portal to help UK organisations adopt more flexible working practices. The business led Consortium provides a range of advice, guidance, case studies and online training to encourage individuals and organisations in the public and private sector looking to work more flexibly.

Flexible working has been slow to grip the imagination of managements in the private and public sectors. But it is expected that the Anywhere Working initiative, with backing from the Department for Transport, will gain momentum.
Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “It’s simply not necessary for us to always trudge to and from meetings when modern technology allows you to circumnavigate the globe virtually from the comfort of your front room, local coffee shop or when you’re on the move.”

He added: “Working flexibly by using video conferences, webinars or cloud computing can help increase productivity as well as employee wellbeing, not to mention dramatically reducing our carbon footprint.”

DCLG is developing flexible working with a laptop Remote Access Service for 1200 staff supporting up to 500 concurrent connections. The Department also has a Blackberry service that provides a further 500 staff with email facilities. A “Drop Down” office space with full IT is currently being rolled out across the UK, with 14 sites scheduled to be in operation by the autumn. Audio and limited video conferencing is also available.
The Department says that flexible working has a positive impact on staff retention for good staff who want flexibility, such as those who have caring responsibilities. Staff also are more engaged with the Department as a result of being able to work more flexibly. There have also been cost savings with travel budgets reduced and a decrease in demand for office space.