Andy McKay

Feb 12, 2007

The end of communting

Today the Guardian has articles on road congestion and flexible working arrangements, but does not connect the two.

A bit solution to commuting and congestion is simple, make more tele-commuters. Commuting is evil in pretty much every sense, its damage to the environment and to the people involved1, 2, etc... Most people commute into work and due to lack of flexibility this exacts a huge toll on everyone, including the employer (lower productivity, unhappier employees and sicker employeers) the originator of the problem.

Now admittedly, not everyone can commute. Manual labourers for example. A couple of employees whom I told to work at home a few days a week, just couldn't, there were way too many distractions. But take a scenario where 20% of the workfoce works at home (or a very close office) and then spends 1-2 days a week in the office doing meetings and the such. It's incredibly useful to have that together face time, essential in fact.

The problem I've seen, is from managers. The less enlightened managers (which I'm glad to say I haven't had for a looong time) like to see people working. By this they think people should be sat at a desk. People should be at their desks "working" where the manager can keep an eye on them. This is of course completely pointless and useless, doesn't accurately reflect people's productivity and is just a matter of re assuring the manager.

But making 20% of the workforce work at home 3-4 days a week would have an absolutely huge effect on congestion and the amount of damage. If I was a true blogger I would probably have to go and find some numbers to back this up.

Businesses adapt now, because it would be better to adapt on your terms rather than waiting for the environmental backlash hit and your employees are up a creek. In 20 years time, commuting will be very hard. In 10 years time it might be too. In 5 years who knows. We can solve the problem by adapting business.