Businesses urged to favour IT over cars

Wikis, videoconferencing and Wi-Fi can cut traffic congestion and save cash, argues the RAC

The RAC Foundation is urging more people to consider working from home to cut CO2 emissions, reduce congestion and save businesses money.

The Foundation has been working with the Energy Saving Trust and WorkWise UK to encourage smarter working practices.

By using common technologies such as Wi-Fi and VPNs, it is now much easier for people to work from home. According to RAC Foundation research, around 50 percent of UK workers are "information workers" whose ability to do their job is not dependent on location.

The Energy Saving Trust has calculated that if every business motorist leaves the car at home once per week, it could reduce total CO2 emissions by one percent, and the annual miles saved would equal 35,000 round trips to the moon.

The other significant benefit is a reduction in congestion, as it would be the equivalent of taking 1.7 million cars off the road.

Sheila Rainger, campaigns manager at the RAC Foundation, said making more employers aware of the possibilities of alternative working practices is a major challenge.

She added that concerns about cost are a big obstacle — for example many managers believe videoconferencing is very costly, but in reality can be done simply with a webcam and broadband connection.

The RAC Foundation also wants businesses to have fewer conferences and meetings and instead exchange knowledge via online communities, wikis and affordable videoconferencing.

The idea is not without support, with Local Transport Planning Network research indicating 75 percent of professionals believe tech will help cut business miles.

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