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Departments: Home Working

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people in his Department have been allowed to work from home for part of the week in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement on his Department’s policy on home working. (143884)

DEFRA does not keep centrally held records of staff who work from home and this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Home working commences because it enables DEFRA to both recruit and maintain a diverse work force. Home working helps staff maintain a work life balance. DEFRA is committed to helping its staff maintain a work life balance and recognises that home working can help to reduce the need to travel to work thereby removing journey time and potentially reducing overall transport congestion and pollution as well as individual stress levels. Therefore, DEFRA believes that home working contributes not just to staff welfare but ultimately to delivery of a high quality service to our customers. DEFRA supports home working and is taking steps to ensure that the necessary tools and technologies are in place to facilitate this as part of its overall policy on flexible working. Home working can include the occasional day or days taken to complete a specific task or address a particular situation and is available to all staff subject to business needs. Alternatively, it can be a permanent arrangement with regular home working days appropriate to the individual’s situation.

Managers and individuals are encouraged to think creatively about working patterns so that efficient working can most easily be combined with other responsibilities and with employee’s interests, responsibilities and personal circumstances.