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The Smart Work Network

A new network for in-house practitioners of flexible working

Wouldn't it be good if people in large companies implementing flexible work could get together to share ideas and experience?  Conferences and seminars can be great (especially the Flexibility ones!), but wouldn't it be useful to have a network to keep the momentum going? Well, it's arrived!

A new professional network for people charged with rolling out flexible working was launched in September this year when the Smart Work Network held its inaugural meeting at Reuters, Canary Wharf.

The Smart Work Network is an initiative led by, in response to demand from people who have attended seminars, and incorporates the Public Sector Home-based and Remote Working Group.  40 representatives from large companies and public sector employers attended the launch.

According to Andy Lake, Editor of Flexibility, the new network is a response to the demand for practical help rather than 'evangelising' about the benefits:

“There’s a strong feeling now that the world needs to move beyond discussing the benefits of flexible work. What is needed is support for delivering flexible work in practice. The Smart Work Network will enable organisations to move rapidly up the learning curve and help each other to find the best ways to implement smarter working.”

The aim of the Network is to enable practitioners of flexible work to share experience, knowledge, issues, problems and solutions with each other, in a non-selling environment where they can share information openly. The Network will meet regularly through the year, and can share resources via the new website, which was also launched at the event.

Ivan Newman, Programme Manager in the Global Property Projects Group at Reuters, is a strong supporter of the initiative and has helped to develop the concept. Ivan said:

"With both our internal customers, our companies and wider societal trends forcing the pace on being able to work more flexibly, it's good news that a cross industry, cross company group has formed. Individually we might have difficult problems to solve, but together we have a deep well of solutions."

Caroline Oldham, Home-based Working Coordinator at Ofsted, also welcomed the launch:

“Ofsted set up the Home-based and Remote Working Group for supporting flexible working in the public sector in 2002. This was to share good practice and support one another in developing policies and implementing flexible working. The group was very successful but a constant difficulty for us was a lack of funding to develop ideas for sharing information such as through a secure website. I am therefore delighted to have been involved in bringing the existing public sector group into this new and exciting venture. I am sure that with our combined knowledge, experience and enthusiasm we can make a real difference to flexible working.

There are now over 100 members of the Network, from over 50 organisations.



The online network at

A dynamic resource is developing for Network members at

Members will be able to share information online, and post questions and answers through the discussion forum.

The Network is only open to in-house practitioners charged with rolling out flexible work in medium to large companies. This is to ensure candid discussion in the Network and to prevent it becoming a hunting ground for consultants and vendors.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Network is on 6 November 2007 in Liverpool, hosted by the Northwest Flexible Working Group, a group of 6 companies involved in the Network.

Click here for further details.




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