UK - Two local authorities have brought in technology to enable more of their staff to work from home.
Lancashire County Council and Southwark Council believe it will help them meet targets set by the government for reducing office space and travel time, as well as improving council employees’ work/life balance.
Lancashire County Council has signed a three-year contract with telecommunications firm Telewest Business to connect home-based %s with the council’s IT network.
This follows a successful six-month trial at 10 homes. The service will now be rolled out to employees with a requirement for home working on a phased basis. The service is expected to be particularly popular with social workers and education advisers.
Lancashire County Council ICT manager Rick Woods said: “Increased cost savings and faster connections were key factors in our decision, and we’ve seen how we can achieve these benefits while also maintaining high levels of security.
“This project will form an important part of the council’s home-working initiative, which has been designed to improve the work/life balance of employees and encourage greater levels of efficiency.”
The council had previously used ISDN connections for home workers, but it wanted to offer secure high-speed broadband access while also controlling costs.
Meanwhile Southwark Council has set up a pilot scheme to enable 100 workers to connect to the council’s desktop systems from any location.If this is successful it will roll out the scheme to all of its 5000 staff later this year.
The scheme uses an SAP enterprise portal implemented by IT consulting and business outsourcing firm ITNET.
Assistant chief executive Bill Murphy said: “Many of our local members are juggling numerous council activities with a full-time profession, therefore efficient communications are fundamental.
Often councillors work up to 60 hours a week, so the time that they will save each week through using this portal will be extremely valuable.”
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