Work / life balance is snow joke

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date: 3 December 2010

embargo: immediate release

The South West TUC is appealing for companies to put the lessons learned on flexible working arrangements during the bad weather to good use all year round.

Many firms in the region will be adapting their working practices because staff can't make it in due to the snowy conditions - but it could help their work-life balance to carry on such arrangements into the New Year.

According to government figures 4.5 million employees would like to work from home but are prevented from doing so by their employers. That's nearly one in five of the workforce.

While not all workers want to work from home, and many jobs require staff to be in a specific workplace, there are still thousands of people and businesses in the South West that could benefit from more flexible working patterns, if they took the chance.

Nigel Costley, South West TUC Regional Secretary, said: 'At this time of the year flexible working arrangements can be particularly helpful because maintaining a decent the work life balance is very stressful. Parents want to see their children in the school panto or they've got to handle school closures, the commute is more difficult, there are holidays to plan for and public transport gets unreliable.

'Flexible working doesn't just have to mean working from home but it does mean having an enlightened attitude and treating staff with respect.

'And it makes sense for businesses. They're likely to recruit and retain staff easier. Studies show it improves motivation and productivity. You make savings on sickness absence, travel and, in the long run, office-running costs. Your business also gets a better reputation for quality and service which makes you more attractive in the marketplace.

''Too many workers are wasting their time making journeys they don't need to, clogging our transport networks during the rush hour and adding to their carbon footprint unnecessarily, while companies are losing out on the cost and productivity benefits of home working. Surely we can be a lot smarter than that.'

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The finding that 4.5 million employees say they want to work from home on a regular basis but are not allowed to do so is from the 2007 Work-Life Balance Employee Survey by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform www.berr.gov.uk/files/file38388.pdf

From 6 April 2009 the formal right to request flexible working was extended to parents of children 16 or under. This is in addition to parents of disabled children under 18 and people caring for adults in need of care.

The TUC has advice on good practice by employers during bad weather which can be found at http://www.worksmart.org.uk/news/2009/02/bad-weather-commutings-snow-joke

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

- A series of TUC rights leaflets are available on our website and from the know your rights line 0870 600 4 882. Lines are open every day from 9am-9pm. Calls are charged at the national rate.

Contacts:

Media enquiries: Nigel Costley T: 0117 947 0521; M: 07887 797153; E: ncostley@tuc.org.uk
Issued by South West TUC media officers:

Phil Chamberlain - mob: 077 930 18283; tel:01225 744006

Susie Weldon - mob: 0797 0466 830; tel: 0117 952 0974

Joint email address: southwestmedia@tuc.org.uk or swtucmedia@gmail.com

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