Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Time is precious and economically valuable. Hence, when new time-saving infrastructure is introduced, value chains become disrupted. What should we make of the direct Eurostar link from London to Amsterdam announced this week? We analysed the time that it would take to travel from C&W’s City office to our Amsterdam office door-to-door by both plane and now train. The result? The plane journey is about two hours quicker in total. Should you, therefore, take the plane? No. Time is only relevant when you think about utility. The plane journey has over double the amount of downtime during which it would not be realistically possible to work (even more if you need an internet connection). Hence, for businesses, the train is the more productive option. For those needing to get home in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day this evening (just remembered?), you may reach a different conclusion, but that is also a question of utility. Increasingly we will find that the office is not the only place to work, and how we incorporate alternative working environments into our business processes is likely to have a significant bearing on productivity.