Flexible working doesn’t just mean working from home!

Old school working methods cost

Saving £15,000 per London desk is a great reason to adopt flexible working – but it’s not what gets me up in the morning 1  2

The human costs, the social costs, the missed opportunities – the sheer waste of needless commuting are what makes me so passionate about people working near home. Some companies create more carbon by their staff getting to work in the morning than everything else combined.

Let’s reinvigorate our communities by living in them again not just sleeping there.

We don’t need to stop commuting – by just reducing, it’ll have a massive impact. One extra person by the tube doors soon becomes a crush. One extra car at the lights becomes a traffic jam. Small changes can have huge impacts. If you need to commute daily you should care even more about helping other people commute less.

Flexible working should be flexible

We had to commute for hours a week to get to the building with all the filing cabinets and the mainframe computer. Now we don’t. Daily commuting was a necessary evil – one that is no longer necessary.

Flexible working does not just mean working from home! People often talk about how great home working is before confessing that *they* don’t enjoy it much – but they are sure it works for other people. Other people with no kids. A proper home office. A love of solitude. And not all the time.

Where are the most productive places to work?

When people talk about the most productive place to get things done, they talk of first class seats on trains, quiet bay windows with gorgeous views, that bench atop a mountain we see in adverts – very rarely do they talk of daily commutes, endless meetings and banks of open-plan desks.

We’ve seen a glimpse of what’s possible with coffee shops – great for an hour of down-time – less good for making phone calls. Or thinking. Or when you need the loo, pack all your stuff and return to find your precious round table’s gone.

So where would we want to work? Like restaurants, we’re going to end up with a huge variety of options. They’ll be close to home so we reduce that wasteful commute. They’ll allow for the fact that we’re social animals and provide a range of places to be productive. A “proper” office exactly where we need it.

And it’s happening. Global property consultancy CBRE’s latest report “The Work Shop” calls for a network of locations staff can use by the hour. As well as NearDesk in the UK, there are similar networks emerging in the US, Holland and Germany.

Start a pilot today

Early adopters are already gaining competitive advantage by embracing flexible working.   Bespoke, IT hosting services firm Digital Craftsmen had just six staff when they decided to embrace flexible working.  They saved so much money reducing their office costs that they were able to hire two more staff – all whilst enjoying work more and getting more work done.

So what are you going to do? Embracing it fully may be too big – so start with a pilot, today. Let a group of people try working more flexibly. If it works, extend it. Soon it won’t be called flexible working, it’ll be called working.

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http://www.costar.co.uk/en/assets/news/2012/February/DTZ-UK-office-occupancy-cost-falls-everywhere-apart-from-West-End/

2. http://www.vodafone.co.uk/cs/groups/public/documents/webcontent/vftst042192.pdf