Posts by tag: Eversheds
Ever since the Romans pushed a cart up Watling Street, technology has been inextricably linked to economics
WORKTECH 11 London | Steven Norris, TfL; Cornelius Medvei, Eversheds; Ian MacBeth, TfL; Sir Terry Farrell, Farrell and Partners
Steven Norris kicked off the debate by stating that ‘ever since the Romans pushed a cart up Watling Street, technology has been inextricably linked to economics’. While he sympathised with transport authorities that see their role as purely facilitating transport, he encouraged a greater use of technology such as smarter ticketing and a move towards homeworking. Just as long as he does not have to do it all of the time…!
Cornelius Medvei put forward Eversheds’ new way of working, where the nature and scale of the project is considered more important than counting the number of hours spent and location of work. Their work philosophy allows them the flexibility to put the best team together for a project regardless of geography. They have invested in third spaces to allow both collaboration and thinking space, and innovation which has saved them money.
Finally Ian MacBeth added that the biggest challenge to new ways of working would be behavioural change and that whilst smaller companies have the agility, bigger businesses can put in place the process. He cited the example of NatWest who have managed to utilise WiFi despite initial concerns over security. He also mentioned that for the younger generations, the workplace plays a big part in their social life and personal relationships with colleagues still need to be nurtured. Despite trying to lead the way in flexible, remote and new ways of working, Ian noted that TfL still had a blanket ban on Facebook.
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WORKTECH 11 London | Norman Baker MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Department of Transport and Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes
‘If it’s going to rain you take an umbrella’ is a reassuring mantra from the minister who is helping create the Government’s strategy on encouraging businesses to change the way they work. Coming from a transport perspective, Norman obviously has a vested interest in persuading us to reduce our journeys. With the transport system at breaking point and with relatively little capacity left to exploit, the Government needs to do something.
With this in mind Norman took the opportunity to unveil the new Anywhere Working initiative. He stated that a change in psychology was needed and that a lack of confidence in agile working needed to be overcome before we could see real change. Anywhere Working will provide businesses with straightforward guides containing examples and case studies as powerful advocates, which the Minister hopes will encourage companies ‘to see reward where they once saw risk’.
Evidence from Microsoft and Eversheds should convince even the most sceptical. Microsoft has reduced the amount of business travel by 27% and Eversheds has reduced the cost of business travel by £1.3 million.
If concerns about growing carbon emissions are not enough to stimulate business to make a change to our work-associated travel, the economic downturn could be just the incentive needed. Norman has a no-nonsense approach to the issue: ‘Something has got to give. The situation is becoming unsustainable both environmentally and economically’. The Government’s initiative is a move in the right direction and in some instances they are leading by example but are they doing enough to support the new ways of working? It seems that an instructive web site and proactive policy is all we are going to get for the moment, but Norman reminded us that we are all in this together and ‘we all have a role to play in changing psychology’. Better make sure you don’t forget your umbrella.
- Plenty of hard-nosed businesses adopting flexible working
- Department of Transport leading by example
- Large companies need to have the capacity to innovate and have the resources to set an example
- On planning: ‘If it’s going to rain you take an umbrella’
- On changing business psychology: ‘[Companies need] to see reward where they once saw risk’
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