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Monday, November 10, 1997 Published at 06:35 GMT


Don't travel to work...stay at home instead

Four million Britons work at least part of the week from home

European Teleworking Week kicked off on Monday with computer and telephone companies urging firms to send more of their employees home.

There are a variety of jobs which lend themselves well to working from home, especially professions such as technical authoring, computer programming, architecture, accountancy, conveyancing and some forms of journalism.

Teleworking provides cost savings for many companies and a recent survey of 200 firms found 85 per cent expect to ask some of their employees to work from home, at least part of the time, in the future.

It is becoming more and more popular and around four million Britons currently work at least part of the week from home.

There are also environmental advantages - less traffic on the roads for one thing - and teleworkers are able to be more flexible about when they want to work.

British Telecom is set to launch a new phone which it says will make it even easier for people to work from home.

The phone will allow employees to be contacted by their bosses, colleagues, clients and customers be they in the office, at home, in the car or even down the pub.

There are undoubtedly problems with teleworking - tariffs and billing can be confused, employment rights are complicated and some people find it difficult to work from home, especially if they have children.

[ image: Bob Tomalski...has doubts]
Bob Tomalski...has doubts
Bob Tomalski, editor of What Cellphone? magazine, says there is another far more fundamental flaw.

He says: "You have got a lack of people around you to interface with, to talk to and spin ideas off.

"It's all very well having the technology but there is no point having the technology if there is no human content."

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