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No Time Like The Present!

David Lennan. Chairman, Work Wise UK. Friday, November 16, 2012

David Lennan. Chairman, Work Wise UK

Well, much to the surprise of many commentators and some well known cynics, this year’s great sporting moment, The Olympic Games, delivered a roaring success, not just from the athletes who brought home the medals, but from all the successful business operations that ran like clockwork. No holdups, no strikes, no disruption and just like the athletes, the companies that achieved smooth running, prepared, by training, developing and implementing new ways of working.

Successful employers clearly embraced and implemented new smarter working policies, which if continued should provide a great legacy, not just for London but across the UK. As with all successful projects, it is the meantime management that really matters, keeping the determination, patience and enthusiasm going when the pressures don’t seem quite so great, so this is the time to change the way you do things.

Savvy business leaders know that changing the way people work and making better use of resources is paramount to business success. You can’t keep churning out the same old products or routines, with the same old work practices and expect to deliver growth and productivity, you have to be smarter and you have to work at it. The athletes will already be planning ahead to the next Olympics in Rio. They know, that whatever they achieved in London will be surpassed in Rio, new records, new faces, new ways of coaching and achieving, in other words all change.

Now the season is changing in the UK and the clocks have gone back, Commute Smart Week, reminds us that we have another opportunity to change our attitudes and thinking in relation to work activities. Are we prepared to move into 2013 with the same anticipated sickness and absence rates as last year?  are we going to see business interrupted by poor weather and disrupted travel? Or are we going to grasp the opportunity by changing the way our employees work and think and introduce more flexibly to cut out these disruptive influences on our business performance?

More and more business are reviewing their working practices and thinking hard about how they manage people. Managing by outputs is the key, forget about presenteeism and concentrate on creating a workforce that is flexible, responsive and delivers the business plan. This won’t be done by 9.00am to 5.00pm clock watching, but by giving people the freedom to achieve. 

We know that skills, management quality and leadership take a long while to build within any organisation and the recession has left many companies with fewer people, lower experience levels and lower levels of trust. Managers and staff need to raise their game if they are to perform at the highest levels and get our world productivity ranking back amongst the medals. We need to make sure that we are not left trailing by the time of the next Olympics, when the spotlight will be on Brazil and other countries with surging economies. 

We all know that hanging on to everything from the past is not the best of plans. We have to manage the present, selectively forget the past, by leaving some of our old thinking and working practices behind and concentrate our attention on creating the future. None of us know what that really holds, but we are all capable of playing a part in the creation. This is exactly what employers who adopt smarter working practices have done over recent years and the proof of success was fully demonstrated during the Olympics. 

More than 4 Million people now take full advantage of flexible, mobile, home and remote working.  Organisations embracing the value of new technologies and capital investment are also changing working practices to measure outputs not inputs and to deliver rewards. It isn’t how hard you work, where you work, or how loyal and dedicated you are that matters, it is what you produce and the outputs that you achieve. This is what productivity is all about.

Commute Smart week provides a real opportunity to revise tired working practices, how and where people work and set about adopting flexible approaches to people management as a key component of effective change. 

The key question is, will Employers across the country learn from the great success of the Games? Will they prepare, plan and implement policies to deliver the productivity gains to ensure that we move up the world productivity league tables by the time of the next Olympics?  Less than four years to go, no time like the present to start!!

Guest Blog: The Practice of Compromise – Give and Take

by Maureen Ferguson. Resource Planning Manager, Carnival UK
People across the country are trying to find a way to balance home, family and healthy pursuits (just like the doctor advises) with work and financial stability. Life isn’t easy or simple. The increased expenditure on petrol, parking and the time sitting in traffic is pushing more and more people to want to work from home, car share or to start and finish outside the “normal working day”. Read Article...

Guest Blog: Working 9-5 - not the way to make a living

by Sue Ratcliffe. Head of Client Services, alldayPA
We’re all familiar with Dolly Parton’s famous song ‘9 to 5’, a classic karaoke and dance floor hit, with those first few bars guaranteed to get your toe tapping.  As a remarkably upbeat song, it’s easy to lose the message that Ms Parton is attempting to deliver - that being that working 9 - 5 is a rather dull, inflexible way of making a living. So with that in mind is the traditional working day bound to become obsolete? Read Article...

Guest Blog: Flexible working – a universal right but still a long way from being a universal practice

by Frances O’Grady. General Secretary, TUC
It’s over a decade since the right to request flexible working was introduced. It’s easy to criticise this right as being weak and without substance. It is, after all, just a right to ask and as many trade unionists will tell you they’ve never needed a law to tell them they can ask for something. Read Article...

UK’s Flexible Future, a route to increased productivity?

by David Lennan. Chairman, Work Wise UK
UK working laws will change on 30th June 2014, giving all UK employees with six months continuous service the legal right to request flexible working, but despite all the press coverage and publicity heralding the changes, only half of SMB decision makers are aware of the new legislation. Read Article...

Guest blog: UK firms must embrace unconventional working to stay competitive

by Duncan Higgins. Marketing Director, Virgin Media Business
As the UK economy begins to grow, British businesses have to focus on doing all they can to stay ahead of the competition. We’ve seen an explosion in flexible working; with more people working remotely than ever before. In fact, our latest research found that three-quarters (74%) of workers believe that traditional working patterns have been redefined due to changes in globalisation and competition. With, nearly two-fifths (39%) of UK businesses already trading internationally, according to the British Chambers of Commerce, this is only set to grow. Read Article...

Guest Blog - Call to deliver cheaper train tickets for part-time workers

by Martin Abrams. Public Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport
Today we have launched a campaign for cheaper train tickets for part-time workers. Together with a broad coalition of women’s groups, charities, and NGOs including Work Wise UK we are sending a loud and clear message to the Government that we need cheaper rail travel for the country’s rapidly growing part time workforce. Read Article...

Champions of Smarter Working

by David Lennan. Chairman, Work Wise UK
Work Wise UK have been champions of Smarter Working the last decade and we have worked with major organisations across the UK in the Public, Private and Third Sectors helping to change attitudes and behaviours and develop the new cultures that encourage greater flexibility in the workplace, which we call  Smarter Working.
Read Article...

Work Wise Week 2014 Exceeds All Expectations

by David Lennan. Chairman, Work Wise UK
Work Wise Week 2014 has been our most successful yet, with wide Press and Radio coverage and inspiring articles from our Guest Bloggers. The blogs all featured on our web site have contributed a huge collective knowledge to any organisation wanting to work smarter and become more productive. Read Article...

Guest Blog: Smarter ways of working are slowly rising in the Czech Republic

by Jakub Heikenwälder. IT and Communications Consultant, Leucanta Ltd
In 2012 the city of Hodonin started to prepare a project on promoting teleworking in the region of south Moravia, Czech Republic. Much progress has been achieved since then so, as this is Work Wise Week in the UK, it is a good opportunity to evaluate our project and the situation in the Czech Republic. Read Article...

Guest Blog - My Virtual Coffee Break

by Sally Harrison, Head of Social Media, Unify Enterprise Communications Ltd
Each day at 3pm I have a standing conference call. Yes, I know that is not unusual but what if I told you that I actually look forward to this call, – which has no agenda but is entitled “Virtual Coffee Break”.
Read Article...

Guest Blog: Recruiters on Cloud 9 thanks to Catalyst’s home-working business model

by Paul Wilson. Owner, Catalyst Recruitment & HR
This year’s Work Wise Week shares an important anniversary with an early adopter of flexible working practices – Catalyst – a recruitment & HR consultancy based in the North East of England that can rightfully celebrate nine years of realising the benefits to be gained by smarter working.
Read Article...

Guest Blog: Smarter working needed as the economy recovers

by Frances O’Grady. General Secretary, TUC
Home-working has continued to increase during the past year, topping four million for the first time. But the recent increase seems to have been driven by jobs growth, rather than an enlightened attitude from employers, as the proportion of people who regularly work from home has stayed the same.
Read Article...

Guest Blog: Have you considered the business benefits of coworking?

by Emma Long. Sales and Marketing Director, Bizspace
If you’re not familiar with coworking, here is your chance to get up to speed with the flexible working concept which is growing fast in popularity.
Coworking is a modern way to work, which involves sharing office space on a flexible basis, as and when you need it.  This makes it ideal for any workers who do not need a full time office base.
Read Article...

Guest Blog: Home working. A breath of fresh air?

by Philip Gomm, Head of External Communications, RAC Foundation
For all the benefits that motorised travel has undoubtedly brought there are undeniably side-effects: congestion, carbon emissions, road accidents and, increasingly, worries about the health impact of the particulates and nitrogen oxides emitted predominantly from cars, lorries and buses. It has been estimated that poor air quality reduces life expectancy at birth by about six months.
Read Article...

Guest Blog: Smarter Working Britain: one answer to the UK’s productivity problem

by Ben Dowd. Business Director, Telefonica O2 UK
There’s been a flurry of positive news about the UK’s recovery in recent months, and all of the economic indicators are showing that 2014 is the year that we will return to growth. The relief from UK businesses that have been struggling throughout the recession is almost palpable. Read Article...

Guest Blog: The Future of Working

by Andrew Millard, Senior Director Marketing – International for the SaaS division at Citrix
On June 30th 2014, new legislation in the UK will give all employees with over six months experience at the same company the legal right to request flexible working. There seems no more apt time than Workwise Week UK to assess what this means for the future of working in this country. Read Article...

Productivity Is The Business

by David Lennan. Chairman, Work Wise UK
Unemployment has fallen to 2.2m 6.9% of the Workforce; Employment has jumped to 30.4m and is growing faster than any time since the 1980’s, what fantastic headlines. Earnings have also caught up with inflation, so it seems that the labour market is soaring ahead, but what’s happened to the real success measure, Productivity, well its dragging well behind and is 4% below its pre-crisis peak.  Read Article...

Welcome to Work Wise Week 2014

by Phil Flaxton. CEO, Work Wise UK
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Work Wise Week 2014. 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. Read Article...

Guest Blog: Combating Commute-Creep with Smarter Working Could Benefit Workers and Employers Alike

by Frances O'Grady. General Secretary, TUC
With the first snows of winter forecast to fall next week, this is the time of year when the commuter blues deepen. Travelling in bad weather in the dark is depressing and can obviously be hazardous. Many people are already escaping our gloomy November roads, bus stops and station platforms, but even more want to do so. Read Article...

Guest Blog: Two Wheels for Winter

by Catherine Litherland, Membership Marketing Manager, British Cycling Association
Now that the dark nights and cold mornings are set in for winter, it can become increasingly tempting to lock the bike away for the next few months and seek refuge in the warmth of the car or the train as you seek to battle your way to work. Read Article...

Guest Blog: The Licence Plate Lottery

by Philip Gomm. Head of External Communications, RAC Foundation
Every commuter who has ever been stuck in a rush-hour traffic jam has probably gazed idly at the hundreds of fellow car users surrounding him and wondered why more of them couldn’t work from home one or two days a week, or stagger their working hours to avoid the morning and evening peaks, thereby freeing up a useful bit of space for those who just have to travel at peak times. Read Article...

Crisis? What Crisis?

by David Lennan, Chairman, WorkWise UK
What a difference a day makes. Just a short while ago, we saw once again the devastation that weather can deliver to our communities and businesses. This has again been dramatically highlighted in the Philippines, where we have seen the havoc that storms can inflict and we know only too well, that the recovery process takes considerable time, huge effort and is a massive distraction from the routine of our daily lives. Read Article...

Guest Blog: Healthy Working is Wise Working

by Emma Donaldson-Feilder. Affinity Health at Work

Work Wise Week is great time to reflect on all the different ways in which employers can create smarter, wiser ways of working. One of the strands of this reflection needs to be about how to ensure that the workplace and workforce are healthy, so that employees are able to give of their best and achieve high performance.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: Smarter Working in the Czech Republic

by Jakub Heikenwälder. IT and Communications Consultant, Leucanta Ltd

In 2012 the city of Hodonin started to prepare a project on promoting of teleworking in the region of south Moravia, Czech Republic. Through this project contacted Phil Flaxton, the CEO of Work Wise UK.

In the Czech Republic smarter ways of working are still not very common. Our country has a population of about 10 million inhabitants; half of them live and work in the cities, the other half live in country. The average daily commute time to work is about 80 minutes a day; in some big cities it’s even more.  Unfortunately, there is still a widespread belief that “to work” means the place or location, not the activity or production.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: There's Good News and Bad News

by Frances O'Grady. General Secretary, TUC

There is both good news and bad news on National Work from Home Day 2013. The good news is that home-working has been steadily growing, despite the UK’s long-running economic troubles.  The number of home-workers increased by 469,000 between 2007 and 2012, up by 13.1 per cent.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: Caution

by Philip Gomm. Head of External Communications, RAC Foundation

The arguments for teleworking simply seem to get stronger and stronger.

With the UK population set to increase by ten million people in the next twenty years or so, the number of cars to rise by about four million over the same period and delays on the roads to jump by more than 50%, there has to be a better way of doing business. And it is technological advances which are offering up the opportunities.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: It's Not All About The Money

by Stephanie Maxwell. Smart Working Project Manager, Wokingham Borough Council

In April 2010 Wokingham Borough Council embarked on a project that looked at how we could work more flexibly.  The aim at that time was to reduce expensive office space across the organisation. We decided that we would apply a 2:1 desk policy, where there would be 2 staff to any one desk within the civic offices.  This policy would allow us to free up enough space to move staff into the civic building from our other sites. These sites could then be sold, raising us capital receipts and on-going savings on maintenance costs.  Money was at the forefront of our minds.

The Smart Working Project was born……

Read Article...

Guest Blog: Flexible Working Advice for Employers & Employees

by Anne Sharp. CEO, ACAS

Twenty years ago, flexible working was the exception and not the rule. When I started my career there was a general attitude that flexible working was a perk for new mums. The response to suggestions that it could be applied more widely was 'it won't work here' or it's 'for other people, not us'.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: Increasing Productivity Through Remote Working

by Robert Gorby. PowWowNow

The benefits of remote working are so vast that it is hard to argue why you wouldn’t want to offer it as an option for your business. With an increased pressure to perform on time-poor staff and global workforces, remote working allows workers to stay in touch no matter where they are in the world.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: The Benefits of Remote Working

by Joe Hallwood, Co-Founder TEFL

In late 2008 my wife Jennifer and I set up TEFL Scotland Ltd., a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) course provider, from our garden shed in the Highlands of Scotland. Since then the organisation has undergone rapid growth and development, with the formation and enormous success of the TEFL England, TEFL Wales and TEFL Courses Ireland brands.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: Flexible Working - Not Just A Sweetener

by Philip Vanhoutte. Senior VP & MD, Plantronics

For many years now, Work Wise Week has championed smarter working in the UK. Whether it’s mobile or flexible working, the not-for-profit initiative believes that smarter working is good for businesses and employees alike. And they’re not wrong!

Read Article...

Keep Pushing The Boundaries

by David Lennan, Chairman, WorkWise UK

As witnessed last summer during the Olympic Games, workforce flexibility was a key contributor to business success and continuity. Employers and employees who prepared and planned were rewarded, with easier travel arrangements, less hassle, less absenteeism and greater productivity.

Read Article...

No Time Like The Present!

by David Lennan. Chairman, Work Wise UK

Well, much to the surprise of many commentators and some well known cynics, this year’s great sporting moment, The Olympic Games, delivered a roaring success, not just from the athletes who brought home the medals, but from all the successful business operations that ran like clockwork.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: Commuting, An Issue In Its Own Right

by Frances O’Grady. TUC General Secretary Designate

The TUC campaigns on all the big issues at work.

But these days, with rail season tickets prohibitively expensive and petrol hitting around 140p a litre, the amount of time and money spent just getting to and from work is a pretty big issue in its own right.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: A Finger In the Dyke?

by Philip Gomm. Head of External Communications, RAC Foundation

The lot of the commuter is rarely a happy one. Often it is distinctly miserable. On the railways there are overcrowded trains and sky-high fare prices increasing above the rate of inflation. On the roads there are... well essentially the same things: jam packed roads and escalating running costs.

Read Article...

Welcome To Commute Smart Week 2012

by Phil Flaxton. CEO, Work Wise UK

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

Read Article...

Guest Blog: How Smart Are You?

by Norma Pearce. HR Director EMEA, Plantronics Ltd

It’s strange that within the business world senior executives are constantly analyzing business models, challenging the ways in which they conduct their business, constantly striving to become the best in their field in regard their products, their marketing and sales strategy etc.  Yet when it comes to people strategy (the very mainstay/core of their business) it gets completely overlooked

Read Article...

Smart Companies Keep Smart People

by David Lennan. Chairman, Work Wise UK

Everyone has been telling us this week in Blogs, Tweets, Facebook and simple E mails that the world of work has changed and continues to do so at a very rapid rate. We know this all too well as Work Wise UK has been pioneering smarter, flexible working across the UK, for the last 7 years. 

Read Article...

Guest Blog: Doing Your Home Work

by Tony Grace. Chief Operating Officer, Virgin Media Business

This week was the seventh annual Work Wise Week, which included National Work From Home Day on Friday. It’s a fantastic initiative run by Work Wise UK, an organisation set up to encourage smarter ways of working including introducing more remote working.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: Necessity, Not Choice.

by Philip Gomm. Head of External Communications, RAC Foundation

Picture the scene. More people. More cars. More traffic. More congestion. Welcome to a vision of the UK in the not too distant future.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: Finding Your Own Home Working Routine

by Judy Heminsley, Author & Founder Working From Home Wisdom

It’s good to develop your own routine when you work from home, even if only loosely, as it helps get you into the frame of mind to start work, to pace yourself to stay alert and productive throughout the day and to be able to switch off when you finish.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: Employees Want Smarter Working

by Nicola Smith. Head of Economic and Social Affairs, TUC

The TUC supports Work-Wise Week and National Work from Home Day. They are important reminders that improving work organisation can generate mutual benefits. Many employees certainly have a strong appetite for change. The previous government’s Third Work Life Balance Survey found that about 1 in 5 employees wanted to work from home but could not do so, whilst similar numbers wanted to work flexi-time.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: The Changing Nature Of Work

by John Taylor. CEO, ACAS

In the midst of all of the hype and headlines about the Tanker Drivers’ dispute and Public Sector pensions, being asked to reflect on the ever evolving world of work is a welcome respite.

Read Article...

Guest Blog: The Question Is: Y Work?

by Richard Stephens. Co-founder, StaffShare / Owner, DirectionGroup
Clearly the Y generation want to work in different ways; BUT how does that impact on today's workplace and employers wanting to utilise the skills of this bright and technologically astute new generation?
Read Article...

Guest Blog: Technology Is Changing The World We Work In - Embrace The Change

by Simon Curry. CEO, Powwownow
The revolution of technology within business has made it possible for the way we work to completely change. The adaptation of things such as the smartphone, tablets and high speed broadband and Wi-Fi now allows you to be on the go 24/7 and choose your working patterns. You don’t have to be bound by the 9am-5pm drudgery of office working and commuting. Instead, this technology allows you to stay in touch with colleagues, suppliers and customers all around the world, whenever and wherever you are.
Read Article...

Guest Blog: Smarter Working On An International Scale

by Steve Byrne. Managing Director, Travel Counsellors

In a recent survey, Regus reported that the UK was “not as keen” on flexible working as other nations. Maybe it was the way the question was posed, because whilst the benefits of flexible working are often applauded by people within a business, from a commercial view, it’s also better for the customer - and of course the two are inter-dependent.

Read Article...

Welcome To Work Wise Week 2012

by Phil Flaxton. CEO, Work Wise UK

To herald the start of Work Wise Week 2012, and our new blog, Work Wise UK CEO Phil Flaxton reflects on 7 years of smarter working and invites UK PLC to play its part in a smarter, greener, working UK.

Read Article...

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