ECONOMY MAKES BOSSES CONSIDER SMARTER WORKING
economic turmoil is expected to make more employers look at the
benefits of smarter working for their staff, an industry group said.
“The economic downturn means organisations are trying to save
money and boost productivity – which means managers are more likely
to consider allowing staff to work and commute smarter. The benefits of
smarter working include lower overheads for employers, more
productivity, and a demonstrable commitment to the environment. But,
overall, smarter working practices mean happier employees.
Employees themselves are looking to cut the costs of commuting. Fuel
price increases, rises in mortgages and the growing general costs of
living means everyone is tightening their belts.” says Phil Flaxton of Work Wise UK.
Phil Flaxton was speaking ahead of National Commute Smart Week
(26 October 2008 to 1 November 2008) which aims to draw attention to wasted
time and resources which result from work-related travel and
commuting to work at peak times. Starting the day after the clocks
go back, Commute Smart Week will also highlight a number of ways of
avoiding the misery of travelling to and from work in the dark, and
the depression and despondency that many experience as a result, by
working and commuting smarter.
Flexible working times (including flexitime, condensed hours and
nine day fortnights), staggered journeys and part home working,
reduce the overall need to commute, and allow people to avoid peak
times. Trying alternative ways of commuting, such as cycling
or walking, can also help reduce congestion and public transport
overcrowding, and at the same time significantly improve health and
The knock-on effect of reducing overall traffic congestion and
public transport overcrowding by extending the rush hour and
reducing peak demand through smarter working and commuting will make
the daily commute more bearable for those workers who have no choice
when and how to travel.
National Commute Smart Week this year will have 5 themes, 1 for each
· Flexible working and travel plans
· Road congestion and road safety (including car sharing)
· Cycling (why spend hours in the gym?)
· Walking (get off a stop or station early and walk)
· Health benefits of smarter working and commuting
Smarter working and
commuting may also help mitigate the significant increase in deaths
and injuries that occur on our roads during the winter months, many
of which are schoolchildren.
A number of spokespersons will be available from Work Wise UK and
from organisations which successfully practise smarter working, both
national and regional. Work Wise UK will be publishing a series of
tips and guidance on working smarter, which will be circulated to
the media and uploaded on the Work Wise website prior to National
Commute Smart Week.
Further details about Work Wise UK can be found on the website (www.workwiseuk.org).
SOUTHPORT SCHOOLCHILDREN CLIMB ABOARD BUS FOR A HEALTHY OUTLOOK
Merseyside got a double-decker helping of heating advice when the
npower Health Through Warmth bus pulled up in Southport this week.
The specially converted double-decker bus rolled into Churchtown
Primary School in Southport on the 15 October 2008 to help raise
awareness of the npower Health Through Warmth scheme and improve the
health and well-being of vulnerable members of the community.
The bus has been designed to allow visitors to experience firsthand
the cold, damp living conditions which could put the health of
vulnerable residents in Merseyside at risk this winter, while also
demonstrating the measures provided by the scheme to create a
healthier, warmer home environment.
The scheme works by training health and other community workers
(including nurses, police and firemen) who carry out home visits to
spot the signs of ill-health caused or aggravated by living in cold
and damp conditions. The local Health Through Warmth team then
accesses the most suitable grants or other types of funding,
including charities and the dedicated npower Health Through Warmth
Crisis Fund, to ensure homes are properly heated and insulated for
npower Health Through Warmth aims to improve the quality of life,
warmth and comfort levels of vulnerable residents in Merseyside
whose health is adversely affected by living in homes which are not
properly heated or insulated. The scheme can help people of any age
whose health is being affected by their living conditions and they
do not have to be an npower customer.
Robbie McAndrew, Regional Co-ordinator said:- “The Health
Through Warmth bus is a fully interactive way to find out more about
the scheme, the measures available or how to become a referrer to
help identify vulnerable people in the community. By alerting people
to the contrast between cold, damp homes and warm, efficiently
heated homes, the bus tour will have a positive impact on the health
of people in the area.”
Elaine Midwinter, Health Through Warmth scheme manager, said:-
“The scheme has been operating very successfully in Merseyside
and thanks to the ongoing support and commitment of all the local
partners involved, we look forward to making the scheme an even
greater success by significantly alleviating fuel poverty locally
through increased training and assisting more residents.”
Since the launch of npower Health Through Warmth in 2000, the scheme
has trained 15,000 referrers, received over 40,000 referrals and
accessed more than £32 million of grants and other funds for
insulation and heating measures that help create warmer, more
comfortable and healthier homes. Launched in Merseyside in 2003, the
scheme has received over 2,971 referrals, trained 927 referrers and
accessed £2.3 million of grants.
Anyone who would like more information about Health Through Warmth
can call 0800 0702 809 or visit
Information and advice on energy efficiency is also available from
Warm Front on 0800 316 2805 and the Energy Savings Trust (EST) on
0800 512 012.