December 5 2006 - Sir Rod Eddington, former chief executive of British Airways, was asked to
produce a report on reducing road congestion. One of the main conclusions was the need for road pricing, with
motorists being charged more for driving at peak times on the busiest roads. The Eddington Report has not taken into consideration one of the most obvious solutions to the problem of transport
capacity and congestion, and it is a solution which is both achievable and realistic according to Work Wise UK, a
five-year campaign to encourage smarter working practices.
Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, explained:
"Changing work practices and encouraging smarter working, such as flexible working, mobile working, remote working
and home working, will significantly reduce the need to travel. Working 9 to 5, five days a week, at a central
location, coupled with the desire to travel many, many miles in order to attend meetings, are working practices
which are actually largely unnecessary considering the technology available today. This rigid work structure, which
is largely dictated by culture and nothing else, is wasteful in terms of time and resources, damaging in terms of
the environmental impact, harmful in that it impacts upon stress levels and health.
"Smarter working is a win-win situation. Any costs will be outweighed by an increase in productivity, and the social
benefits of an improved work-life balance for employees will be far-reaching. Add to that the environmental impact of
reduced travel, one of the solutions for the issues raised by the Eddington Report, and the Stern Report, is staring
us all in the face."