Why is commuting still a thing?

By | 8th February 2017


Over 15 years ago I worked for a firm that used video conferencing, remote working and flexible working.

Back then these may have been ahead of their time, so by now I would have expected widespread adoption – particularly due to technology advances and cost reductions.

Our videoconferencing machine cost £25,000 – now almost any smartphone, tablet or laptop has the same facility.

Laptops used to be expensive, quite large and heavy, with short battery life – now cheap laptops will run for a full work day and are under 2kg.

Internet speeds have increased dramatically, mobile internet is easy to achieve and public wifi is also available in many locations.

Yet, with all these advances people are still stuck doing the regular 9-5, wasting hundreds of hours a year travelling as well as the costs on top.

Sadly, it may be due to the hours culture. People that work remotely and/or flexibly can be treated less than those ‘hour warriors’ who are always at their desk, sometimes not even leaving it for lunch.

Many years ago someone worked out that the average cost of providing a desk to an employee (including all the overheads) was £12,000 – so there are benefits to the company of allowing people to work remotely.

Recently in my local area there have been huge disruptions due to railway strikes and road closures – hopefully this may spur people on to consider the alternatives.

After building up 17 years experience in industry and practice, James started his own business from scratch in 2006. He now helps others to do the same, while minimising both the risks and costs. James is dual qualified in tax and accounts, and has won multiple awards for small business. In 2014 he was invited to Downing Street, as one of the Small Business Saturday 100 winners.

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