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UK businesses claim flexible working is greatest Olympic legacy

Sophie Curtis | Jan. 21, 2013
37 percent now have more trust in their employees working flexibly, according to report

This involved scaling up the council's remote access capability to 1,400 concurrent users, and implementing a 7:10 desk to people ratio for Newham's main building. The council also moved from 27 smaller offices to a major base at the Royal Docks, saving about £2m a year.

"The Olympics gave people who had never worked from home before the opportunity to try it out during the Games; managers learnt to manage by output rather than presenteeism," Connell told Techworld.

"Our contact centre staff, who used to come into work every day, did their jobs from home and found they were more productive. I haven't seen them since - they never come back."

Tim Jones, corporate partner at law firm Freshfields, added that companies that have flexible working policies are more likely to engage employees, and are also more likely to gain an edge over their competitors when it comes to attracting new talent.

"The Paralympics have also changed organisations' attitudes to disability in the workplace, and flexible working associated with that, so the Games really have been a catalyst for change," he said.

Emer Timmons, president of BT Global Services UK, said that BT as a company has been working flexibly for years and, as a result, productivity has gone up 33 percent.

The company is now running a programme called "Powering up the professional worker," which examines the opportunities provided by workplace innovation and technology to the professional services sector, and helps customers implement flexible working policies.

 

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