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Bringing about a workstyle revolution through smarter working practices

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has signed the Work Wise UK concordat supporting the adoption of new smarter working across the UK. The EOC joins many other signatories such as the CBI, TUC, British Chambers of Commerce, BT and Transport for London, all pulling together to bring about a workstyle revolution which will make the UK the most progressive economy in the world.

The agreement states: “This concordat brings together the signatories in a joint statement supporting the development and implementation of smarter working practices and as an example, and encouragement, to others to do likewise. The goal is to increase significantly the use of these practices by 2011. Such advancements will not only benefit companies, communities and individuals, but the UK economy as a whole, making it more productive and competitive in the global marketplace.”

At the signing, Jenny Watson, chair of the EOC said: “The Commission is fully committed to promoting smarter working practices – for the benefit of all. This is not just a working parents issue – flexible working practices can increase productivity and competitiveness and should be available to anyone struggling to achieve a work-life balance, whether this is to provide care for an older relative or pursue a passion for sky-diving. Society must catch up with the reality of modern life."

Phil Flaxton, Work Wise UK’s chief executive, said: “Today’s work culture is from another era. Not only is it wanting in terms of efficient use of resources and the impact upon the environment, it discriminates against those who have a family, who have aged relatives or who have a disability.”

“Organisations are beginning to realise that not only are they failing to tap into a valuable skills pool, but by adopting new smarter working practices, they increase productivity in the workplace as a whole.”

Organisations and employees across the UK, both public and private, are being invited to take part in the second annual Work Wise Week (May 16 to 22) to continue helping create a ‘smarter’ working Britain. The week includes a number of events and National Work from Home day on Friday, May 18. During the week, organisations will be encouraged to participate in smarter working practices such as allowing staff to stagger their commute and working from home.

Work Wise UK, a not-for-profit initiative, is in the first of a five year programme to promote the wider adoption of smarter working practices, such as flexible working including compressed working hours and nine day fortnights, working from home, mobile and remote working, to bring about a workplace revolution, similar in impact to the Industrial Revolution which Great Britain led in the 19th century.

Both the public and private sectors agree that the benefits of smarter working are enormous: apart from the positive implications on employees’ work-life balance and travelling time, the improvements in productivity will help the UK meet the competitive challenges presented by the emerging economies, such as India and China.

The aim is for thousands of other organisations to sign the concordat, via the Work Wise website (www.workwiseuk.org) over the coming months, demonstrating their commitment to revolutionising the workplace.

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Notes to editors:

Images of the signing are available. Please contact the Press office below.

Supporters of the Work Wise UK campaign include the CBI, TUC, the British Chambers of Commerce, BT, Transport for London, Scope, the RAC Foundation, Technology Means Business, Henley Management College and the Association for Commuter Transport.

Work Wise UK is organised by the IT Forum Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation.

Further information about Work Wise UK can be found on the website www.workwiseuk.org.

A dedicated electronic media centre has been established for journalists to obtain further information, to download print-quality materials, and to register for media updates about Work Wise UK. This can be accessed either through the main website or directly at www.workwiseuk.pressrooms.net.

For further information, please contact:

Roy Turner, Chelgate PR, 020 7939 7939 or 07970 522232 or rt@chelgate.com

Michael Hardware, Chelgate PR, 020 7939 7939 or 07775 925 274 or meh@chelgate.com

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