A couple of weeks ago Microsoft launched the Anywhere Working initiative in conjunction with Business in the Community, Vodafone, Transport for London, Nokia, Regus and Nuffield Health. This group initiative is designed to demonstrate to businesses and individuals how much money, time and carbon can be saved by working more flexibly and finding alternatives to travel. The site (see link above) provides a savings calculator which provides a calculation of money, CO² and time saved by not travelling to your place of work – two days per week working from home rather than making my way from Camberley to Thames Valley Park results in an annual saving of £416, 1.29 tonnes of CO² (crikey) and 5.8 days. Mind you, there’s no such thing as an average week for me, and I will eat into my own supply of tea bags and Jaffa Cakes. The site also provides some case studies for flexible working.

Obviously the viability of working from home depends on your job role, but advancements in technology (such as broadband and corporate-grade real-time collaboration incorporating document / desktop sharing and co-authoring) have made the premise of working from home more realistic and achievable over the past few years. A business adopting unified communications – offering integrated telephony, video and embedded presence awareness – further promotes the experience for home or mobile workers.

Anywhere Working isn’t just about working from home, it’s about working from wherever you find yourself, and therefore support for portable devices is also an important aspect. Last week I was at an off-site team meeting but had to join a customer call, so I used the venue’s WiFi, my Windows 7 tablet, and Lync telephony (and video) to join the meeting from a quiet corner. Anywhere Working is achievable with the right tools and infrastructure (and a connection).

The week commencing 27th of February has been designated Anywhere Working Week, during which businesses and individuals are invited to give flexible working a chance to make an impact. Stay tuned to the Anywhere Working site and also the Facebook page for more information. On the Anywhere Working Twitter account (@Anywhere_Work) you have the opportunity to win a Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse (that’s gotta be worth it).