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Traffic jams mean 123m working hours lost

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The virtues of flexible working and video conferencing may be extolled in response to a survey which has found 123 million working hours are lost each year due to traffic.

With 11 per cent of respondents stating that each time they were delayed in traffic it made them 40 minutes late for work, perhaps it is time working practices changed.

In the survey, which was carried out by Churchill Car Insurance and took 1,095 commuters into account, it was estimated that £752 million is lost to the economy each year.

Traditional nine to five working hours mean that a large number of people are all trying to get into cities at the same time.

Companies which allow flexible working could see that their staff adapt their own schedules in order to avoid the traffic.

Those who are encouraged to participate in mobile working may decide to work from home and therefore cut out the commute all together, meaning less time wasted for both them and their employers.

Another way of dealing with traffic is for companies to invest in video conferencing software, so that staff do not need to travel across cities and even the country in order to attend or conduct meetings.

The average delay was 27 minutes and experienced at least once a week, almost doubling the journey time of most of those affected.

Many staff are also being forced to get into the office early, as leaving the commute until rush hour is more likely to mean they arrive late.

It is only fair for those forced into such a practice to be allowed to leave early and hence miss the evening rush hour as well, otherwise they are likely to return to their homes late too.

Business’ attitudes towards the likes of flexible working and video conferencing are expected to change during the London Olympics, due to increased traffic in the capital.

Tony Chilcott, head of Churchill Car Insurance, said: “It’s incredibly frustrating for motorists to have to adapt their working hours just to avoid congestion on the roads.”