PARENTS

Why Can't More Parents Work From Home?

09/06/2009 19:09 | Updated 22 May 2015

Working parents could spend 39 extra days a year with their family if they cut out commuting, according to new research.

Apparently we would even be happy to take a pay cut if we were allowed to work more flexibly.

This survey was commissioned by communications company Avaya, which provides flexible working solutions for companies, so there's a possible conflict of interests there!

But it did get me wondering, whatever happened to the idea that the IT revolution would lead to us all working from home?

We're all connected more than ever. We talk more by email than we do face to face. Workers spend all day staring at computer screens.

Why are they all still spending hours every day travelling to offices to sit in front of a computer and send emails to each other?

My husband is editor of a weekly newspaper. His bosses have just moved the editors of lots of weekly newspapers all under one roof, to a city which is a long way from the areas many of them are writing about.

If they can do that, why can't all the editors work from home, at least part of the time? My husband wouldn't have to spend two and a half hours commuting every day, and he could see more of his daughter.

Of course, it must be because the big bosses don't trust their employees to work hard at home.

In many jobs it would be easy to make sure people were doing enough work: you just have to set targets and monitor productivity.

But there's this culture in this country that if you're not sat at your desk for 14 hours a day, you're not working hard enough.

Until we start measuring people's value by the work they produce rather than the hours they put in, we're still going to have to show up at the office every day.

By the way, another interesting result from this survey is that only 56 per cent of people would choose to spend the time saved with their families.

The rest of them, presumably, would rather be down the pub, in the gym, or even sitting quietly on a train reading a newspaper. Not everyone wants more time with their family...

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