Working away

To mark the end of its Work Life Balance Week, the government has released its guide to teleworking, which covers issues like health and safety, tax and recruitment for remote employees. This guide has been welcomed by The Work Foundation, which is calling on employers to give more support to teleworking.

The government’s guidelines were drawn up by the CBI, TUC and CEEP UK (which represents public sector employers), and tackles all the areas the employers need to explore when allowing staff to work offsite. It is hoped that by helping to support companies that offer flexible working a better work life balance can be achieved, while also reducing the strain on infrastructure such as transport systems.

The aim is to allow modern technology to bring both employers and employees real benefits in the form of new business opportunities as well as a greater ability to balance working with family life. This is in line with new maternity legislation, introduced in April, that forces employers to consider flexible working for mothers who wish to return to work.

The Work Foundation says employers need to learn to trust remote teleworkers. “Managers have to leave behind traditional attitudes that employees cannot be working properly unless managers can see them,” it said in a statement.

As teleworking is on the increase, up by 65 percent in the last four years according to government figures, with 2.2mn people using IT equipment at home to work flexibly, this is certainly a subject that needs to be taken seriously by bosses.

The Work Foundation believes the government must do more to promote teleworking and should undertake research into productivity levels of teleworkers in order to put apprehensive employers’ minds at rest. Anecdotal evidence, says the group, already supports the idea that flexible working actually boosts productivity.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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