Coventry University aims to help organisations transform themselves into 'eWorking' pioneers: saving on space, facilities and staff commuting time as well as gaining a new way of attracting the best people.
The university believes that a lack of trust and concerns about communications - rather than doubts about technology - have emerged as the real barriers to introducing homeworking and other kinds of flexible working.
The new eWorking Solutions group at the university has been set up to provide a service to both public and private sector organisations to create the right package of culture, management, systems and IT which allows work to be organised, independent of location and time, benefiting, customers, employers and providing freedom for their staff.
The university is running its first event, "eWorking - sustainable work life" on June 12 at the TechnoCentre, Puma Way, Coventry, to give an introduction to best practice and the experiences of firms which already have a flexible workforce.
Speakers include Peter Madden, chief executive of Forum for the Future; Alan Darby of KPMG Midland's People Services Team; Ian Binks of BT; and Dr Simon Slater, head of sustainable development for Advantage West Midlands.
In addition to the expertise of its staff, the work of eWorking Solutions is based on first-hand experience of the flexible working operations at Coventry University Enterprises (CUE), named 'Best flexible working organisation' in the 2007 Microsoft People Moving Business Awards, run by Management Today, the Chartered Management Institute and Business Link.
Introduced in 2002, more than half of CUE's workforce is now working flexibly, with an average of ten more people joining the scheme every three to six months. As a direct result, CUE is reported to save £68,000 on office space costs every year, as well as seeing reduced levels of absenteeism and increases in productivity from individual staff ranging between 40 and 100 per cent.
Tim Luft, director of eWorking Solutions, said: "Many organisations face problems with a lack of space, with the prospect of an expensive move, and a limit on the geographical area from which they can recruit from. At the same time, people are spending more time and energy on commuting.
"The technological solution is already here, but employers have yet to come to terms with the idea of allowing staff to work from home. EWorking Solutions will be working with organisations to help them through the necessary change in culture and start benefiting from this more sustainable approach to work." * Booking for the event can be made online at www.eworking.org.uk