British business and
services suffer greatly from the networks that do not work - the
road and rail networks.
Disruption caused by road
congestion, fuel shortages, railway closures or bad weather cost
the country £billions. But instead of counting their losses,
employers should be planning to minimise the pain caused by the
kind of events we have seen in recent days.
Although goods need to be
moved and work needs to be done, images of office workers
stranded at their local stations should surely be consigned to
the archives! Enduring a long, expensive and unpredictable
journey just to sit mainly in front of a telephone and computer
screen is no longer necessary in the 21st century - you can do
that without travelling.
Many managers in the private
and public sectors have embraced warmly the various types of
e-business. But they often seem reluctant to change the way they
work. Best practice in flexible working now involves "flexi-place"
as well as "flexi-time" and "flexi-contract"
As business processes become
less dependent on paper, so a growing proportion of work can be
carried anywhere: at an office, at home, at a local business
centre or on-the-move. Face-to-face contact is of course
important - but productivity shouldn't grind to a halt without
Those employers that have
adopted these new flexibilities have found that, when properly
implemented, everyone wins - except perhaps those who make a
living from transport and office buildings!
Organisations need to bring
together those responsible for human resources, facilities and
technology to develop plans for working in the information age.
This should ultimately result in working practices that do not
depend on the unattainable goals of reliable train services and