It's Work Wise Week in the UK this week. (May 16th - 20th) This is an interesting time to reflect on how we have progressed in the six years since the WorkWise Uk initiative was launched.
I remember being involved in the first year and the organisers coming up with a problem. The Government Minister who was due to launch the week was only available on a Wednesday. So I was one of the people who suggested that this was an opportunity to make a point and start the week on a Wednesday. By doing this it would illustrate that today's work practices are not restricted to Monday to Friday and that a lot of 'Smart Working' goes on at weekends. I see that this year it is only a Monday to Friday week and is a much scaled down affair compared with the first few years.
Does this mean that WorkWise has run its course and that everyone is now working wisely? No, definitely not. It does reflect the recession which has killed off the sponsorship of the event and made people focus more on survival than reviewing their working practices. Although, ironically, flexible working is a great way of surviving a recession. It improves productivity and creates a workforce that can be more responsive to changing customer demands. So now more than ever we need to challenge some of the outdated assumptions about work.