Now that spring is springing
Now that spring is springing, I like to walk to work. My normal route along Mutley Plain gives me a lot more than a little light exercise; it gives me time to collect my thoughts, to muse to myself - and there is even a little sense of community as you stroll past the same, slightly vacant faces of other musers. I cannot recommend it highly enough. But of course, not everyone is lucky enough to live within a reasonable stretch of the office, so the car is still a must for most. I was musing on this as I padded home yesterday and thought about the near closure of Outland Road next week. I know from the odd occasion when I have had to drop my children to Notre Dame that the morning traffic northbound – away from the city centre - I can’t help notice – can be a long slog. So maybe these roadworks are the spur we need in Plymouth to look seriously at more flexible working patterns?
The traffic disruption in London during the Olympics led to a huge increase in home-working. Almost half of the businesses who took it up went on to adopt the change long-term, according to research by Citrix. 13% of SMEs in the London area – 13%! - adopted a different approach of one sort or another during the Games. And Citrix reported, with a certain satisfaction no doubt, that it led to a 38% surge in the use of their virtual GoToMeeting service.
This is a social trend which has not reached Plymouth, perhaps because congestion is not so bad. Advising local businesses as I do, I see a very little take-up. Ok, so any rent saving from increased home-working and hot-desking may be marginal, and many staff are territorial about their spaces, but for many others - especially younger workers - the chance to work at home for some of the time, to balance work and family commitments, can make a big difference to how they feel about the day job. We can all skype in for meetings these days. Cloud computing makes it easy to access a work system securely. Broadband is better and better. And so what would have been a bold move 2 or 3 years ago is now perfectly easy to do. Worth a thought. But I would miss my walk to work.
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