London 2012 demonstrates home/flexible working should have lasting legacy

Research has revealed that around 4 million people plan to work from home at some stage during the Olympics, saving 2.4 million hours of travel for those that stay away from the London during its busiest period.

David Sturges, CEO of WorkPlaceLive, believes that this could be signalling a change in attitude in allowing employees more flexible work patterns and to work at home.

David Sturges comments, “The O2 research estimates that one in eight companies in London is encouraging or has arranged working from home or flexible working practices for its employees and news reports of central London being like a ghost town during these games seems to back support this view.

“London 2012 has shown that with the right technology people can work from home enabling corporations to downsize offices, save money, reduce their carbon footprint and arguably create a happier and more productive workforce. If it worked for the Olympics why not extend it throughout the year?

A report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in May 2012 ‘Flexible Working Provision and Uptake’ and found that flexible working arrangements can have a positive impact on a number of areas of organisational performance. Nearly three-quarters of employers felt that implementing flexible working practices has a positive impact on staff retention, with just 3 per cent identifying a negative effect. A further 73 per cent report there is a positive impact on employee motivation, with 3 per cent citing a negative effect.

A team at Warwick Business School found that happier workers were 12 per cent more productive, and unhappier workers were 10 per cent less productive. Andrew Oswald, the professor who led the research in 2010 said this had important implications for the world of politics and business.

“We believe businesses should continue this legacy of offering flexible/home working, especially given its apparent success during the Olympics and one way of doing this is by adopting Cloud Computing.

“Using Desktop as a Service (DaaS) technology, employees will be able to access their company’s IT systems including emails, files and their own desktop securely from any location with an internet access. They don’t need to be in the office and they are not reliant on their organisation’s servers and technology to work. They can carry on as normal wherever they are based; they are not losing hours spent unproductively in transport delays and won’t have to battle in to the office on overcrowded trains.

From a corporate perspective, there are many additional benefits – including significant financial ones. Adopting cloud computing technology reduces the need for capital investment in IT and, all administration issues including software provisioning and updates, security, disaster/recovery are taken care of by the cloud computing provider. There is no longer any need for ‘energy draining’ servers in an office as everything is managed remotely.

So it seems another legacy the Olympics could leave behind is showing businesses that they can cope by introducing flexible work patterns, meaning many more could introduce this model going forward. If this helps create happy employees who are motivated and in turn more productive, surely this is a win-win situation? The 21st century workplace could finally be changing with many more of us working from the virtual office.”