DTI: Teleworking is good for your health

The DTI is urging employers to use modern technology to reduce employee stress levels

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has given its backing to a new initiative that aims to show how flexible working practices can reduce employee stress levels.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and CEEP, a European organisation representing public sector employees, say their guidelines will help companies avoid many of the technical and human problems associated with remote working.

According to the DTI, around 2 million people in the UK already work away from their offices using technology, and this figure is increasing by 400,000 every year. Between 1997 and 2001 the number of teleworkers grew by 65 percent.

Flexible working brings benefits to both employers and employees. It can increase opportunities for those with families or who have long journeys to work. It also eases pressure on infrastructure, helps regional development and improves the balance between work and home life for employees, the DTI said.

The guidelines are being published to coincide with the third annual Work Life Balance Week, an annual event organised by a charity and designed to help people reduce work-related stress by taking advantage of flexible working. They will include information on health and safety, taxation and expenses, human resources, personal support and information security.

Employment Relations Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said that modern technology is changing the way UK businesses work. "Using technology to work away from the traditional office environment has the potential to bring a wide range of benefits to both employers and employees. It is important that these benefits are realised and exploited fully," he said in a statement.

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