- Jamil El-Imad
Research Fellow, Imperial College London
Why do we travel to work every day?
Why do we travel to work?
Why are countries investing billions in renewable energy when today we have a technology that can save the environment quicker, cheaper and more effective. What is it? It is the Information Communication Technology (ICT). Travelling to work was required when most workers were material workers. Today most of us are knowledge workers yet we are still organised with factory principles. Commuting time is ‘wasted time’ as it is financially non-productive. In the UK more than £260 million-worth of working time is spent every single day travelling to and from work not to mention the pollution and health costs. Equally problematic is the social impact of long commutes restricting family time.
What can be done? Information Communication Technology ‘ICT’ has evolved beyond our imagination, yet the application of ICT has lagged behind the evolution. Organisations are all dependant on technology to conduct business and manage their operation. However the majority have not organised their work place effectively and utilised the efficiencies that can be had from radical ICT deployments. The Human Resource (HR) function in business has failed to keep up with the changing ways of organising the work place through the use of efficient ICT. HR should define the various professional roles and set an efficiency benchmark in measuring the fulfilment of these roles between the work and none-work place, using ICT as the enabling technology.
What can Governments do? The pollution taxes that are being introduced to industry do not consider this fundamental aspect of pollution – ‘Travel To Work’. Companies could disclose the aggregate of their workforce’s work related travel. Low scoring businesses could receive a tax incentive or tradable carbon credits. In summary, I propose the introduction of a ‘Travel to Work’ carbon reduction policy. Such a policy will help dramatically in reducing carbon emissions, improves the lifestyle of people and help to give more time to family and parenthood.