Home working gets a boost from bad weather

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Having already lost one car to the earlier floods in Lewes, East Sussex, David Kemp, euro director at ABN Amro, was among those staying put. An ISDN connection and remote access to the bank's database obviated the disadvantages. Kemp enjoyed the experience. 'Homeworking is better if anything for detailed drafting and analysis work,' he said.

Elsewhere in Sussex, Andrew McCaffery, head of UBS Warburg's global investor group, was struggling with an absence of power. Safely back in the office he recollected: 'I could communicate with clients, look at the markets and participate in conference calls.'

Nevertheless he does not expect to repeat the experience. 'Working at home is not very practical for active dealing with clients. For traders it is theoretically possible to put a trade together and ask a team to execute it, but to ensure transparency, and that sales go through, you really need physical proximity between sales people and traders.'

For those in a position of management responsibility, the experience was also less than satisfactory. 'While on the one hand, a busy fee earner can work quite effectively from home, reading and drafting documents and having telephone conversations on the other hand it creates difficulties for those with responsibilities for management and supervision,' said Andrew Granger, head of the employment department at Taylor Joynson Garrett.

'You can't manage a team of people from home. You need face-to-face contact. I found being stuck at home frustrating.'

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