The PLACEmaking blog

Our response to BBC piece: “Emails read while commuting ‘should’ count as work”


Alison White


August 30, 2018
An interesting piece that exposes how ill prepared we are for rapid changes in the way we work.

Aside from the research confirming that many employers still regard time spent physically in the office as being the ‘core day’ and time commuting to and from work as an employee’s ‘own time, the anecdotal comments by commuters expose key issues for debate.

“Commuters use their personal devices/mobile phones for work related emails”

Should we not confine employer-provided technology devices to history and repurpose purchasing attitudes and operational support services to being something that’s actually functional and meaningful to users instead of just corporately ‘cost effective’?

“Commuters use time travelling as a ‘transition’ from work to family roles”

As working from home – or at least remotely from ‘the office’ – becomes more common, how will we ‘transition’ from work to home roles when the kitchen table is both the office and the centre of family life?

“We’re letting technology extend our working day/week”

How do we take ownership instead being passive victims of technology advancements? Is the next generation witnessing the pleasure and joy of fulfilling ‘work’, or being put-off by witnessing the strain of uncontrolled interruption on non-work time?

Whilst it’s interesting to hear about the effect of functioning WiFi on trains, the misery of commuter disruption and train delays or cancellations is hardly compensated by weak and frequently interrupted connectivity when finally on the move. We need employers and employees to be prepared for Smarter Ways of Working so that travelling to and from ‘the office’ by mass transport is a thing of the past.

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