Take a break – and think about a better way to work

How did you travel to work last Thursday? What time were you in the office and when did you leave?

How did you travel to work last Thursday? What time were you in the office and when did you leave?

I apologise if I pry unduly into your personal travel habits and times but I do it with the best of intentions.

Thursday marked the launch of Work Wise North East, a campaign promoting the benefits of flexible working.

The North East Chamber of Commerce is a founder sponsor of this project, which seeks to help employers become more aware of the vast array of opportunities that exist to offer greater flexibility for workers.

I see active participation in Work Wise as one of the most important activities NECC will undertake for years to come.

There is a tremendous amount of change occurring in the North-East - the bulk of which is extremely positive - which will have a ripple effect on our lives.

Years ago, we spoke of the need for economic prosperity and now we witness one of the most vibrant periods for the regional economy in a long time.

This is a great time to be in business in the North-East.

However, nowhere has the impact of this progress been witnessed more keenly than in the levels of car ownership. As a region, we have the fewest vehicles per head, and yet we are acquiring cars more quickly than anywhere else.

The net result is strain on a transport infrastructure that has lacked investment for too long. While we are far from the congestion experienced elsewhere in the country, it is still a concern and has a detrimental impact on business.

Work Wise is an opportunity for businesses to play a proactive role in alleviating this issue and is a good tool for creating a happier working environment for your staff.

Staggered working times, home working and term time contracts are three of a multitude of methods which enable employees to get a better balance between work and their home life, without it costing your business.

NECC has committed to overhaul its working practices to become a paragon of flexibility. We see this as a recruitment and retention tool and as a means to show that businesses can be proactive in improving the working environment.

* James Ramsbotham is chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce.

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