More working from home, says telecom firm

BEING tied to the desk is becoming a thing of the past for many workers in Kent and Medway.

IT and telecoms group Telewest has reported that increasing useage of broadband and mobile phone technology in Kent is changing the way we work.

Philip Stewart, head of Telewest’s South East business division, said: "The South East has long been associated with a pressured working culture and long office hours, but businesses are now using communications services to increase competitiveness and offer better work/life balance.

"It means that the standard commute is becoming less of a factor for many people."

Kent is blazing a trail ahead of the rest of the South East in adopting these changes. Maidstone and Gillingham showed a higher take up of Telewest’s business services than London.

Mr Stewart said: "Businesses in Gillingham have found that commuting to work has become more and more of a problem for staff.

"Accordingly, IPVPN services that enable remote working have grown in popularity in the past year. Compared to a rise of 23 per cent in London, Telewest Business saw a 26 per cent increase in bandwidth provision for home and remote working in Gillingham in 2005.

"Equally, the Maidstone area saw extensive growth in demand for advanced data services, particularly from the public sector.

"In many cases this was due to organisations taking fundamental operational processes online in response to e-government initiatives or in some cases to meet operational targets.

"Yet Maidstone also saw a marked increase in home and remote working, up by more than 31 per cent in the period analysed."

Telewest’s figures also showed that out of hours phone calls to staff are increasing. Calls made outside of the hours of 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday have risen by 26.3 per cent.

But the head of Telewest’s business division joined Business Link Kent in warning: "As advanced communications have provided the ability for firms to be more competitive, workers must ensure that they can maintain good work/life balance despite being available for work during extended hours."

Eric Friend, BLK’s IT and e-business adviser, said: "There are issues that companies need to be aware of when implementing home working for staff.

"Companies should have documented policies in place covering the areas where issues may arise."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More