Blog

Peter Thomson blogs regularly about the changing world of work and how WiseWork is helping organisations to benefit from new working practices. This site also hosts blog contributions from Wisework Partners and other guest bloggers..

Productivity of Home Working

I’ve recently carried out some research into the productivity of people working at home. The results are fascinating and challenge conventional thinking about telework. Rather than try to explain it all here you can either get the report from here or better still if you have 10 minutes to spare hear me giving a presentation with slides of the results here.

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MPs’ Expenses – A solution

The topic of MPs’ expenses has gripped the nation, or certainly given the media a timely distraction from depressing news about the recession. It seems to me that the whole idea of paying for second homes is out of line with 21st century working practices. The argument for the allowances is that MPs have to work in two places and therefore need two homes. This might have been true in the 19th and maybe the 20th Centuries when they had…

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Business Friendly or Family Friendly?

On April 1st in the UK we are extending the legal right to request flexible working from parents of children up to age 6 to parents of children up to 16. As someone who promotes flexible working you might think this is a time for me to celebrate but in many ways I see it as a backward step. If we introduce rights for parents and we don’t give those to other employees what does that tell us about flexible…

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Beyond Flexible Working

Since the turn of the 21st Century we have seen a massive growth in interest in new working practices generally under the umbrella of ‘Flexible Working’. The topic has moved from being a curiosity to being a part of business strategy and from an HR issue to being the concern of all managers. But despite that evolution, flexible working is still seen as an employee benefit alongside maternity leave and other ‘family friendly’ policies. This situation is endorsed by UK…

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Common Sense re Maternity

I had the pleasure last week to attend the session run by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission where Nicola Brewer pointed out that extending the maternity rights for women was having the effect of encouraging employers to discriminate against women. At last someone has had the nerve to push back on political correctness and say something that is obvious. I remember a couple of years ago an MEP (male) saying something similar and being immediately branded ‘sexist’ and out…

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Flexible Working Good for Business

This week I attended the launch of a report from the CIPD and British Chambers of Commerce entitled ‘Flexible Working: Good Business’ which reinforced the message that new ways of working are not just ‘Family Friendly’ but also good for the bottom line. The report ( http://www.cipd.co.uk/NR/rdonlyres/1E768AF2-4E20-4ADC-B4A4-90E8F105FCB7/0/flexwrkgudbus.pdf ) was launched by the Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, which shows that this topic is getting attention at a high level in political circles. I pointed out to George that current legislation only…

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Flexible Work For All

Yesterday the UK press were covering the issue of extending the legal right to request flexible working to all employees. Beverley Hughes, the Minister for Children, was suggesting changes to reflect the growing demand of people to be able to work flexibly. Her proposal is that all jobs be advertised as possible part-time or flexitime positions, unless there is a sound business case not to. This raised objections both from the CBI representing large businesses and the Federation of Small…

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Road Charges

I recently had a request to sign a petition about potential road charges in the UK. the email concerned said ” The government’s proposal to introduce road pricing will mean you having to purchase a tracking device for your car and paying a monthly bill to use it. The tracking device will cost about £200 and in a recent study by the BBC, the lowest monthly bill was £28 for a rural florist and £194 for a delivery driver. A…

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Working in a Carbon Conscious World

Thie week has seen the publication of the Stern Review on Global Warming. This has pointed out that we have to act now on carbon emissions and recommended that we should be investing 1% of GDP to avoid the damaging effects of continued global warming. As well as pointing to technological solutions, the report identifies that there are currently barriers to behavioural change that are preventing the take-up of energy efficiency actions. It recommends regulation and taxation as ways to…

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Distance Working

I had an interesting discussion today with someone planning to make a TV documentary about people working from a distance. In particular they were looking at the trend towards living in France and Spain whilst still working in the UK. Because air fares are so cheap (at least if you book well in advance) it is economical to live in the south of France and work in London, or other parts of the UK. With an increasing number of jobs…

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