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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd


Focus Archive

Smarter Working Campaign - changes in working practices

June 2007

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is the latest supporter of Work Wise UK, the major five-year initiative that aims to bring about a fundamental change in working practices in the UK.

IOSH has joined the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) and British Chambers of Commerce in encouraging a 'workstyle revolution' through the widespread adoption of new smarter working practices, such as flexible working, including compressed hours and nine-day fortnights, remote and mobile working, and working from home.

IOSH, Europe's largest professional body for occupational safety and health, is supporting Work Wise UK because of the occupational health benefits of the widespread adoption of these new smarter working practices.

Lisa Fowlie, IOSH president, said: "It is widely accepted that flexible working can help employees achieve a proper work-life balance. A feeling of lack of control over workloads and pressure to work 24/7 may lead to stress. Many people have to work overtime or commute long distances, which adds hours to their working day. Enabling employees to achieve a proper work-life balance will help to reduce ill health absence.

"Work-related stress accounts for over a third of all new incidences of ill health.

Each case of stress-related ill health leads to an average of 30.9 working days lost. A total of 12.8 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2004/5 in the UK"

IOSH believes wider adoption of flexible working practices will improve business productivity and profitability and help to improve the environment by reducing transport congestion and pollution. An important bonus is that it helps employees cope with their family commitments. A recent survey found that more than a quarter of employees had missed family and social occasions for work and one in five had cancelled or cut short holidays for work.

"The well-being of employees is the primary consideration for IOSH and its members, and we support the Work Wise UK initiative to enable more people across the UK to enjoy the benefits of smarter working practices", added Lisa Fowlie.

Work Wise UK chief executive, Phil Flaxton, said: "As the leading health and safety organisation, we are pleased that IOSH wishes to support the Work Wise initiative. The growing adoption of new smarter working practices will have a very positive impact upon staff and employee wellbeing generally, and on their health."

Further information about Work Wise UK can be found on the website

IOSH is Europe's leading body for health and safety professionals and has nearly 30,000 members worldwide, including more than 8,000 Chartered Safety and Health Practitioners. The Institution was founded in 1945 and is an independent, not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation that sets professional standards, supports and develops members and provides authoritative advice and guidance.

The IOSH website:

Other supporters of the Work Wise UK campaign include the Equal Opportunities Commission, British Telecoms (BT), Transport for London, Scope, the RAC Foundation, Technology Means Business, Henley Management College and the Association for Commuter Transport.

All countries need to look at their own workplace practices and check that there are decent, safe and healthy workplaces for all. Editor