According to a Silicon.com article, UK telco BT is backing "Work Wise UK", which aims to increase the number of people benefiting from ‘smarter working’ from 3.1 million to 14 million by 2009. "Work Wise Week", 3-9 May 2006, is intended to promote debate between government, unions and UK businesses on styles of working.
BT leads by example, boasting 11,500 employees who work from home and 64,000 who are able to work outside the office as needed. This policy results in cost savings through high worker retention and low absenteeism rates, according to the telco.
Given the high number of sole traders and other SMEs in the fragmented and highly mobile AEC industry, I suspect remote working and working from home are already familiar practices. As an industry, however, I suspect that the work-life balance issues are not always addressed. Web-based collaboration technologies such as ‘project extranets’ can help by making information available anywhere anytime, but – like many other IT solutions – they can also tempt users to spend longer than usual sitting at the keyboard.