Guest blog: Our ticketing system is structurally sexist - we need part-time tickets now - By Lianna Etkind, Public Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport

Guest blog: Our ticketing system is structurally sexist - we need part-time tickets now - By Lianna Etkind, Public Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport

The need for part-time and flexible season tickets has never been greater. Over eight million people are now working part-time, with many more working from home or one or more days a week.

But the country’s ticketing system has not kept pace, and is still stuck in an outdated model of five-day-a-week commuting. Whilst annual, monthly and weekly discounts are available, they are based on travelling five days a week.

Campaign for Better Transport’s Fair Fares Now campaign has been calling for cheaper, fairer and simpler train fares for years. So we welcomed the Conservative Party’s manifesto promise to introduce part-time season tickets, so that the millions of people who work part-time would be able to travel to work more cheaply. Over a year later though, and little progress has been made. Part-time commuters are still having to pay through the nose for 5-day a week season tickets they don’t use two days a week; or pay full whack for peak time daily fares. Part time workers get paid two thirds less than full time workers on average, and many must cope with the high cost of childcare. Why should we have to pay extra for travel too?

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Guest blog: Smarter working and better transport needed to beat the commuter blues - By Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC

Guest blog: Smarter working and better transport needed to beat the commuter blues - By Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC

Travelling to work can be unbearable. Long commutes feel like wasted time, and clog up our transport networks. Commute Smart Week is a great opportunity to talk about how we can make the journey better, shorter, or even eliminate them.

As November bites, many of us will be commuting in the cold and the dark. Trees will have shed their leaves. You don’t have to live in the Pennines, where the first snows fell a month ago, in order to get the feeling that simply getting to work can itself be hard work. 
And things are not getting any easier. The average yearly commute has increased by 10 hours since 2010. One in seven employees are now commuting for more than two hours a day, up by 900,000 since last year. 

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Guest blog: Cycle safe, cycle smart over the winter months - By Fredrik Carling, CEO of Hövding, the world's first and only airbag for cyclists

Guest blog: Cycle safe, cycle smart over the winter months - By Fredrik Carling, CEO of Hövding, the world's first and only airbag for cyclists

The growth of cycling in the UK has taken many people by surprise, especially considering the British long-standing love of the motorcar.  People are embracing cycling in many ways – from the daily commute to competitive pursuits, as riding has been widely acknowledged as a great way to stay fit.  However as we move into the winter months, British cyclists do need to be aware of the potential dangers and how to minimise their risk on the roads.

On average, 5.7 million UK adults cycle regulary every month and many British organisations aim to increase this number by accelerating their promotions of cycling, working hard to highlight the benefits that the sport provides. The ‘Cycle to Work Scheme’ is just one example of plans that encourage cycling commuters, promote a healthy workforce, and provide environmentally friendly travel options.  

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Guest blog: How many of us enjoy our commute? - By Ali Clabburn: CEO of Liftshare.com

Guest blog: How many of us enjoy our commute? - By Ali Clabburn: CEO of Liftshare.com

Meet Rob. Rob enjoys his commute. Which is a surprise - as its long. Very long. He commutes from Manchester to London. By Car!

Rob Scott is one of a huge number of people who now car-share to work and never get bored. The secret? Well for him perhaps it was his Biscuit Club?! 

“We come up with little games to keep ourselves amused,” he admits. “For a while, one of us would bring biscuits into the car a couple of times a week, and we’d taste them and give our opinions. It was like a biscuit club. We must have tried about 45 different packets over a couple of months. It was a blissful period, but ultimately detrimental to our waistlines.”

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Guest blog: Commuting, People, Planet and Profit - By Steve Mosser, CEO, Sensée

Guest blog: Commuting, People, Planet and Profit - By Steve Mosser, CEO, Sensée

On average, UK citizens spend an hour a day commuting to and from work. Over and above the actual time involved, there is also a significant number of other downsides: the high cost of public transport, escalating fuel costs, traffic jams, bad weather, packed commuter trains, personal risks related to late night commuting (visibility and safety), transport delays and cancellations, leaves on the line… I could go on.

You may have assumed that I don’t like commuting. And you’d be right - I don’t! But it’s not my dislike of commuting that that’s important or relevant during National Commute Week, it’s how companies can support Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals by implementing flexible – and smarter – ways of working that also happen not to involve commuting.

"People, planet and profit", also known as the ‘triple bottom line’, is a term used to describe CSR which was coined by John Elkington in 1994, and I’d like to explore briefly the relevance of those terms in the context of the daily commute.

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Guest blog: Help for the age-old home/commute/office/commute/home cycle - By Roddy Campbell, Founder and Chief Executive of Vrumi

Guest blog: Help for the age-old home/commute/office/commute/home cycle - By Roddy Campbell, Founder and Chief Executive of Vrumi

I am really pleased to have been asked to write a blog post for Work Wise UK, especially for Commute Smart Week, about what Vrumi, the company I founded two years ago, can do to help the age-old home/commute/office/commute/home cycle.

What’s changed in the way we work, in the last five years?  Really, the cloud; the ubiquity of all our work being available where we are all the time, not just email.  So workplaces are not factories you go to where the tools sit, the only places the work can be done, but rather places of collaboration, of combinations, of thought, of social and collegiate interaction, of creation.

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Guest blog: Health in a Hurry - the impact of rush hour commuting on our health and wellbeing - by Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health

Guest blog: Health in a Hurry - the impact of rush hour commuting on our health and wellbeing - by Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health

Estimates show that 90% of the UK workforce commute to work every morning. This is due largely to the industrialisation of modern modes of transport, which has revolutionised and mobilised our workforce. In London, for example, just under 50% of workers commuted using public transport in 2011. Surveys completed in 2008 and 2013 showed the rise of the ‘extreme commuter’, individuals willing to travel more than 90 minutes each way to get to work, with further indications that this may be a growing trend. It is often assumed that those who commute long distances receive pay-back in terms of enhanced job prospects, higher wages, or the ability to live in more affordable areas. But what cost do we pay for these conveniences and opportunities?

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Welcome to Commute Smart Week 2016 from Phil Flaxton - Chief Executive of Work Wise UK

Welcome to Commute Smart Week 2016 from Phil Flaxton - Chief Executive of Work Wise UK

The dark mornings and evenings are with us again and Winter is on its way so, it’s time for me to launch Commute Smart Week, which start’s our annual campaign to raise the awareness of implementing smarter ways of commuting during the winter months.

Throughout the week, we will publish a series of guest blogs from some of our strategic partners as well as the heads of organisations who will share their views and knowledge on the way we commute.

Commuting for long periods of time has become a part of the UK’s working culture. The excessive time spent commuting is one of the main factors involved in the work-life balance issue. Not only is the amount of time commuting an issue, the 9 to 5 culture with its peak travel times generates congestion on railways, underground and road networks and as a consequence, increases stress for commuters.

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Guest blog: Get rid of your paper clutter - By Andrew Boswell, who is a Programme Director with more than 40 years experience in IT and Telecoms.

Guest blog: Get rid of your paper clutter - By Andrew Boswell, who is a Programme Director with more than 40 years experience in IT and Telecoms.

Do you see piles of paper everywhere? On your desk, beside your bed, on the kitchen table? Are you thinking about buying a bigger bag?

I can help you. It’s time to fight back.

Grab a couple of hours, right away. It might be a pain, but at the end of it you’ll feel a lot better.

Step 1: Gather loose paper

Find a big, empty table to work on. Gather all your loose paper. Letters, memos, reports, receipts, bills, whatever. Not only the piles you can see around you, but also look in your purse or wallet, and in your briefcase or laptop bag. Don’t forget post-it notes stuck on the walls or on your computer screen.

Put them all in one huge pile. Then away we go…

Step 2: TRAF

TRAF stands for Trash, Refer, Action, File.

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Guest blog: Smarter Meetings - By Andrew Boswell who is a Programme Director with more than 40 years experience in IT and Telecomms.

Guest blog: Smarter Meetings - By Andrew Boswell who is a Programme Director with more than 40 years experience in IT and Telecomms.

Working smarter can do a lot for your own productivity and life style. But working with your colleagues can become even more of a challenge if you are at home or far away from them. So it is vital that the time you spend with them in meetings is well spent.

I’ve worked in lots of big companies over the years. All are very different, but they do have one thing in common – they all spend a huge amount of time in meetings. They love them! They think nothing of arranging a 4 hour meeting attended by 30 people. That’s 120 man-hours nobody will get back. If the meeting is weekly, 10% of the week has gone for ever.

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Guest blog: "The pros and cons of working from home abroad" - By Annette Morris, Digital Marketing Consultant, LaFranglaiseWeb.

Guest blog: "The pros and cons of working from home abroad" - By Annette Morris, Digital Marketing Consultant, LaFranglaiseWeb.

For some, the ultimate work-life balance is working from home while living abroad. Research by Bergerac Airport, in South-West France, found almost one in five British residents in the region were commuting back to work in the UK.  With the ever increasing speed and consistency (for some people this can be more important than speed) of internet connectivity, a seamless connection to the office server can be within anyone's reach.  Even in the wilds of Lozère (the least populated area in France), a Satellite dish will instantly connect you with the office via video call, phone, email or VOIP. 

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Chairman's blog: Brexit or Nexit - Productivity remains the key - By David Lennan, Chairman of Work Wise UK

Chairman's blog: Brexit or Nexit - Productivity remains the key - By David Lennan, Chairman of Work Wise UK

23rd June will be a big day for all of us and whatever the outcome there will be substantial and lasting impact on our working lives. Never before in our history have we as individuals had such an important decision to make, that will have such major consequences for future generations.

Yet, I am far from convinced that we all feel adequately prepared and confident to cast our votes, as we are subject to so many conflicting views hitting us from all sides of the debate and through the media channels. One place that really does have impact on all of us as individuals, is our Workplace and it is my firm belief that employers small and large should be doing all they can between now and 23rd June to help their staff understand the arguments for and against membership of the EU.

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Guest blog: I've seen the benefits of homeworking, but too many are still missing out. By Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC

Guest blog: I've seen the benefits of homeworking, but too many are still missing out. By Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC

Working in central London I know exactly what a grind daily commuting can be.  I relish the rare chances I get to work from home when I can.  It wouldn’t work for me every day, but when I need to really focus and avoid interruption, there’s no better workspace than my kitchen table.

I’m not the only one. Surveys suggest that there is a huge unmet demand for home working. Millions would like to, but don’t yet have the option. 

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Guest blog: The power of people and technology in an ever-changing work environment - By Steve Byrne, Managing Director, Travel Counsellors

Guest blog: The power of people and technology in an ever-changing work environment - By Steve Byrne, Managing Director, Travel Counsellors

As a company an integral part of our growth and success has been down to the flexibility and empowerment we give our people in running their own travel franchises from home. Since launching Travel Counsellors over 20 years ago this business concept has seen the company grow to over 1,500 Travel Counsellors agents across seven countries enjoying the benefits of flexible working, for both themselves and their customers.

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Guest blog: Freedom and technology in the workplace - By Andreas Koenig, CEO of TeamViewer

Guest blog: Freedom and technology in the workplace - By Andreas Koenig, CEO of TeamViewer

The workplace is constantly evolving and so too are the workers. A staggering 81% of 16-24 year-olds think traditional 9-5 office life is no longer relevant in the 21st century. This statistic comes from a survey of over 1,000 UK office workers undertaken by TeamViewer for a new report about the future of of the workplace. With such a high number of the younger generation feeling this way, businesses and employers need to cater to the evolution of work life.

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Guest blog: 7 productivity hacks for homeworkers - By Victoria Binz, freelance digital marketing consultant and co-founder of the Brighton Homeworkers group.

Guest blog: 7 productivity hacks for homeworkers - By Victoria Binz, freelance digital marketing consultant and co-founder of the Brighton Homeworkers group.

Many studies aim to prove that flexibility is the new productivity when it comes to work. In the case of homeworkers, most people will agree that flexibility doesn’t mean a lack of structure. Key qualities for working from home include independence, resourcefulness, self-motivation, solution finding, resilience and communication. In other words, homeworking is not for the faint-hearted!

Why not give it a try this Friday 20th May for National Work from Home Day? Here are a few productivity hacks from people who work regularly from home.

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Guest blog: A few thoughts on working from home (from a psychologist working from home) - By Dr Thomas L. Webb

Guest blog: A few thoughts on working from home (from a psychologist working from home) - By Dr Thomas L. Webb

Department of Psychology, The University of Sheffield and Chair of The Institute of Inertia 

Friday 20th May is National Work from Home Day and many office workers will take the opportunity to avoid the commute in favour of working from home (perhaps in their pajamas[1]) and getting some ‘proper’ work done.

The question is will they be any more productive?

Assuming that the time that would otherwise be spent commuting, attending meetings and chatting with colleagues is spent working, then simple reason dictates that working from home means more time spent working and, thus, greater productivity.

But this simple prediction makes a number of assumptions:

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Guest blog: It Always Helps To Be On The Right Side Of History - By Paul Wilson - Founder of Catalyst Recruitment

Guest blog: It Always Helps To Be On The Right Side Of History - By Paul Wilson - Founder of Catalyst Recruitment

It always helps to be on the right side of history – and that applies to business as much as anything else in life.

So a smart business will detect which way the tide of affairs is flowing and swim with it. And, in advanced western economies, the trend is towards more and more people working from home, reverting to a norm that was only interrupted by the Industrial Revolution.

When I started Catalyst in 2005 as a finance and accounting recruitment agency, it seemed like a natural way to operate. I knew I would enjoy it, the people I wanted to work for me were all in favour and – most important – it gave us a valuable insight into much larger businesses that were also moving towards the same model.

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Welcome to Work Wise Week 2016 from Phil Flaxton - Chief Executive of Work Wise UK

Welcome to Work Wise Week 2016 from Phil Flaxton - Chief Executive of Work Wise UK

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Work Wise Week 2016.

I would like to start by thanking all of the organisations who will be working with us during the week to raise the awareness of new, smarter ways of working.

Now in its 11th year, the aim of Work Wise Week, which includes National Work from Home day, is to promote modern “smarter” working practices such as flexible, remote and mobile working, as well as working from home. 

As a Not for Profit campaign and development organisation we work to help make the UK one of the most progressive economies in the world by introducing smarter working practices which, can enable significant gains to both an organisations productivity and increase the work/life balance of its employees. 

Improving work place productivity brings real benefit to business, employees and the country as a whole. We strive to create the sort of environment where people work well as a team and new ideas can flourish. Work place productivity initiatives and improvements boost the bottom line and benefit everyone. Many organisations who have adopted the Work Wise UK way are already experiencing this.

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