Green transport group backs call for Workplace revolution

The Association for Commuter Transport (ACT) is the latest organisation to pledge its support to Work Wise UK, the national campaign to promote smarter ways of working to improve people’s work-life balance and their productivity.

ACT, which promotes the business benefits of sustainable travel initiatives, joins the CBI, TUC, BT, British Chambers of Commerce, RAC Foundation and Scope as partners of Work Wise UK. Its aim is to encourage a workplace revolution, empowering 14 million people, half the population, to have the opportunity of smarter working, such as flexible working, working from home, mobile and remote working, by 2011.

The adoption of smarter working, with people regularly working from home, from remote locations or while on the move, reducing the necessity to travel back to central office locations, results in an overall reduction in the need to travel. Dr Colin Black, chairman of ACT, said: “The aims of Work Wise UK complement the objectives of ACT to improve access to travel alternatives and in doing so help reduce our dependency on the car.

“Increasingly, leading businesses are adopting smarter working practices which assist in both attracting new and retaining existing staff, whilst demonstrating improvements in productivity. The benefits are most obvious when the smarter working practices are pulled together in a strategy, usually called a travel plan.

“Employers quickly learn that their employees are willing to adopt travel alternatives if they provide support and help make it easier, for example by providing facilities for storing bicycles, showers and changing facilities, and making sure that parking is managed on a ‘needs’ basis..

“Reducing the need for travel is a fundamental component of an effective travel plan. The full business benefits will only be achieved if smarter working practices are implemented in parallel. This is why ACT has become a partner with Work Wise UK.”

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, has noted that the transport and environmental benefits of smarter working are being seen as equally important as the work-life balance and productivity improvements. He said: “It is obvious that traffic congestion and over-crowding on public transport are high on the public agenda, especially in major urban areas. Environmental considerations, and not just noise and pollution but also impact on global warming, are also coming into the public’s consciousness.

“The road charging proposals introduced by the Eddington Report last week as a way to reduce traffic congestion completely miss the opportunity to address this issue through smarter working. The solution is obvious: smarter working reduces the need to travel, which will reduce congestion.”