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Smart Commuting Could Save 4.6 Million Work-Hours per Day

Out of the 26 million hours a day British workers spend commuting to and from work, 4.6 million of those hours are wasted, according to a survey released this week during National Commute Smart Week.

The survey found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, 62 percent of commuters want to spend less time traveling to and from work; and although workers want to embrace flexible schedules and remote work options, but their bosses are the biggest obstacle to doing so.

The study was conducted by Citrix GoToMyPC, which as a maker of remote-work and teleconferencing programs clearly has a horse in the game, and was timed to highlight the goals of the week-long campaign to reduce the strain of work commutes on people, national infrastructure and the environment.

Asking nearly 2,000 adults about their commute challenges, Citrix found that supervisors are the biggest obstacle to remote working, with 46 percent of respondents saying their bosses want them working regular schedules, regardless of the wasted hours in their commute days.

Among the solutions respondents proposed to alleviate their painful commutes include working from home some or all of the time, working off-hour schedules to miss peak traffic, and technology assisted remote working.
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Adopting some of these tactics could make the workplace happier and healthier, too: Respondents expressed a willingness to exercise more and cook healthier meals with the time saved in their commute, though that too should be taken with a grain of salt.

But letting workers off the leash could boost productivity as well as satisfaction with work by allowing people to work when they're most motivated as well as giving them more control over their workdays.

“Commute Smart week is all about looking at ways that U.K. workers can improve their work-life balance by reducing the strain and stress caused by commuting," Phil Flaxton, CEO at Work Wise U.K., the group organizing National Commute Smart Week, said in a statement. "The GoToMyPC survey reveals there is a lot of frustration amongst British workers that could easily be reduced if more businesses adopted and embraced smarter working practices.”

Virtual meetings and remote work are increasingly ways organizations are working to address their impacts, as well as provide more satisfying work situations for employees. Telepresence technologies fall under the category of "Green IT 2.0," the term for technologies that go beyond the IT infrastructure of an organization to reduce the impact of other elements of its operations.

Cisco last week announced that it was using its own TelePresence technology to link 100 additional sites to the upcoming U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen next month. And earlier this fall, Hewlett-Packard released its low-cost SkyRoom virtual meeting technology, aiming to allow organizations of any size to embrace virtual-meeting and remote-workforce practices.

A white paper laying out the Citrix survey results is available online at Workshifting.com/downloads, and more details about National Commute Smart Week, which runs through Saturday November 14th, is online at WorkWiseU.K..org.

Photos CC-licensed by Flickr users Kim Scarborough and Burning Image.

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