Photos: Future of sustainable work?

Work shouldn't just be balanced, it should be sustainable and tech can help make it that way, according to Cisco.

The networking firm recently showed off its first Smart Work Centre (SWC) this one in Almere, Amsterdam as a prototype for how ICT can reduce travel costs, improve work-life balance and boost productivity.

The centres offer work space in a flexible way to users from different companies, allowing them to take advantage of collaboration technology such as unified communications while pooling resources for child care, catering and finance, which they previously would have had to work at head office to receive.

"Traffic congestion and climate change make it necessary to find new ways, or actually new places to work," said Mayor Job Cohen of Amsterdam. "The pursuit of innovation is essential for sustainable growth. Amsterdam is already working on a plan to make its own buildings CO2 neutral by 2015."

Almere is located 20km from Amsterdam, so workers avoid traffic and travel time, and can live outside the city, but still stay connected. This SWC will offer workspace to employees of the City of Amsterdam, HP and IBM.

"Almere is an innovative city. We have a new city-wide fibre-optic network, an innovative broadband ICT solution for high-quality visual communication that enables companies to maintain visual contact with their head offices elsewhere both within and outside the Netherlands," said Annemarie Jorritsma, Mayor of Almere.