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Hamster on a Wheel

Ever had one of those days? Tube strike. The hamster has escaped and an accident on the A3 is blocking any chance of getting the school-run finished before eight-thirty.

For the time in almost twenty years, I’ve decided to give-up on the everyday struggle to reach to the office and work mostly from home, surrounded by three PCs, two printers, two phones and a fax machine.

First I gave up on the car and started using a motorcycle but now, there’s nowhere for even bikes to park and parking wardens hide behind every tree. At first, I felt guilty about not commuting. “I should be in the office, the business will collapse, this is ‘skiving’, and I should be there”. But a month later, I’m wondering why I wasted over two hours each day as a desperate, angry tidal creature, one of many fighting the unpredictability of London’s traffic and weather and arriving at work earlier and earlier in an effort to beat the rush.

The irony is that being a telecommuter works or at least it does for me. I start work now at eight O’clock and I finish much later but far more flexibly. My meetings I block book for two days a week and the technology does the rest for me. I’m less stressed and more productive.

More and more large companies now hot-desk or have people working from home BT of course and Unisys being another. With cheap Broadband connectivity now available, there’s very little reason for any company not to think about having its knowledge-workers remotely and perhaps the government should encourage businesses to do just this by offering some kid of tax-break. After all, business is now penalised for employee parking ‘benefits’ and very soon, driving into London, which is impossible at the best of times, will be taxed.

So here’s my suggestion to the Chancellor for the next budget. Help grow the knowledge economy, through incentivising companies that subsidise home broadband and teleworking practises. Get people off the roads and onto email Let’s use the technology that now makes this possible, instead of finding reasons to justify the living hell of the central line in summer.

And if anyone finds my daughter’s Hamster, he answers to the name ‘Eric”.


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