Changes in UK Law Promote Flexible Working

Neil Kay-Jones — of screensharing vendor Yuuguu — has put together a useful overview of recent shifts in UK employment law regarding flexible working arrangements. These changes allow working parents the right to request more flexible working arrangements and could swell the ranks of web workers.
Businesses have been concerned at the potential impact of these changes and, as such, Neil’s guide focuses on five tips to help employers prepare for a potential influx of flexible working applications from employees.

  1. Understand the process of application
    The entire process of review and negotiation can take up to 14 weeks. Employers need to be prepared with transparent processes to tackle each case consistently.
  2. Take time to understand your staff and the roles they play
    Preempt applications by identifying potential candidates early.
  3. Trust your staff
    There’s a mismatch between what web workers think they can achieve and the trust employers place in them to work effectively in remote conditions. Kay-Jones suggests that presence and IM-based tools can act as useful technological measures to help create “remote trust.”
  4. Understand the effects on your business
    Efficiency, morale, reduced absenteeism, retention, loyalty and competitiveness are all potential upsides to proactively encouraging flexible working patterns.
  5. Security
    It’s harder to maintain the security of your data with remote workers. It’s important to take steps to ensure that your business-critical data is secure..

It’s interesting to see that remote working is practically codified in this legislation. The British government sees increased flexibility in working as a means to address social issues. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this thinking extended to environmental issues, too.
What do you think of these changes to UK law?

Telecommuting and the Untethered Employee

As part of a special report on Work/Life Balance, BusinessWeek ran a  “Telecommuting: Once a Perk, Now a Necessity,” an interesting story on how remote workers and telecommuting are now being seen as necessary developments for many organizations, rather than perks afforded to a privileged few amongst their workforce.
Driven by the need to reduce capital expenditure, many employers are encouraging workers to move to home offices. Here are a few interesting takeaways.

  • A healthcare provider is supplying free broadband and gratis office furniture, complete with a couple of delivery guys to set it all up.
  • the amount of money saved by working from home: $15 a day for lunch, $70 a week in gas and wear and tear on a vehicle.
  • To entice employees into telecommuting, Capital One is offering laptops and Blackberries, and the $1,000 managers can supply to workers to improve home offices.
  • At Capital One, office space will now be allotted by function, not title. Square footage will be based on office presence, not rank, with the new workplace will be less about working alone and more about working together.

There’s a bunch of phraseology strung throughout this article that I think is really pertinent to the web worker. Really what we’re talking about is the “post-geographic, untethered worker” — the web is simply an enabler for many disciplines and industries. I’m going to stop using “telecommuter” and go with “untethered” worker from now on!
There are some interesting inferences to be made from Gelb’s story and that of her employer – could coworking be seen as a potential “halfway house” for employees? Could smart employers provide coworking credits to their newly untethered workers, or perhaps stimulate the development of sponsored coworking spaces that benefit workers who might live in proximity?

The GigaOM Show: The Web Analytics Discussion

The new episode of The GigaOM Show is up. In addition to our hitlines, we talk with executives from web analytics companies, Quantcast and Hitwise, and try to understand the complexities of web analytics and why it is hard to get a handle on who is the top site. We discuss, how the new distributed web impacts the web measurement business.

Download the show in Quicktime format or Windows Media Format. For other options, visit the Revision 3 website. You can watch the show below the fold.

Read More about The GigaOM Show: The Web Analytics Discussion