A recent Unify blog mentioned the New Way to Work (NW2W) has come of age, as more and more enterprise communications and social collaboration vendors come forward with new solutions and services to enable the NW2W. But, we have also found that the NW2W is emerging quickly into the foreground of public discourse and civic policy.
The Greater Toronto Area, with its population of over six million, has a traffic gridlock problem along with an under-developed public transit system. Getting around has become increasingly difficult – to the point where transportation became the central issue on our last municipal election.
Just last week, in the wake of our city of Toronto municipal election, talk radio commentators were discussing the mandate of the newly elected mayor and council to eliminate traffic grid lock and ‘get Toronto moving again’. The problem is, Toronto has no immediate budget surplus to fund the billions required to build new infrastructure. Plus, pollution and smog are ongoing issues, and land is already scarce.
What approach will work, at what cost and impact on the city and its people?
Proposals are being floated – $6 billion over 5 years for more surface trains, $8 billion over 7 years for subways, and billions more for new expressways to handle auto traffic … and so on. Then, on a Toronto talk radio station, I heard one commentator describe a potential solution that would not burden the city budget, not raise taxes or increase debt, avoided consuming scarce land or green space, and could be implemented almost overnight. What was this proposed solution, you ask?
Well, it was essentially the New Way to Work – that is, flexible working. People working where and when they see fit (subject to the needs of their employer and customers) to get their job done.
The new way to work meets urban gridlock and smog relief
The subject of flexible working from any location is getting more and more focus in mainstream media. When the topic of flexible working came up on the talk radio program, it was a very different approach to a transportation gridlock – ‘so as to resolve itself’, without building any new roads or trains. Perhaps the municipal and city employees could take the lead by enabling more flexible working, to set an example.
If significantly more workers worked from home or other remote location just once a week, and others could adopt more flexible hours (staggered start or end working times by working remotely part of the day), that could free up an estimated 20% of our transportation capacity, virtually overnight.
Flexible working also means ‘greener’ and smarter business
At Unify, flexible working and virtual teaming are ingrained in our culture. It also drives us to develop and produce greener technologies to help businesses minimize their impact on the environment and achieve their environmental initiatives. These solutions also tend to make smart business sense in terms of cost reduction, operational agility and employee satisfaction.
When you think about it, “anywhere working” that leverages virtual collaboration solutions tends to avoid unnecessary business travel, and can drastically reduce employee commuting. By enabling home-based, remote or mobile workers, you can also avoid or reduce the build-out of new office facilities.
Not to mention the positive impact on employee satisfaction and retention – our recent research studies showed that flexible working ranked as the #1 criterion among employees, even higher than raises or promotions!
To learn more about the New Way to Work, visit us here.