Home working: A big winner after London Olympics
According to a recent Vodafone UK survey, “this summer’s sporting events have boosted appetite for flexible working”, in London and the Home Counties.
The survey interviewed 505 adult workers living in London, Greater London and the Home Counties, 24% of whom had changed their normal working arrangements and began home working or at alternative business locations for some or all of the two-week period.
For the sake of business continuity, many employers advised workers in the Greater London area and the Home Counties to work from home during the Olympics. While this may have been the first time many had taken advantage of the option, the employers of 30% of those surveyed had offered the flexible working for some time.
Generally the two weeks of alternative working has been a success, but while 34% stated their productivity increased due to them having less distractions and disruptions, only 48% felt they had all the equipment needed to work effectively from home.
In a somewhat opposing view, a survey by web security provider Blue Coat Systems Inc identified that lost productivity and an increased strain on IT support has left some firms with a jaundiced view of the experience.
According to the survey one-third of London-based IT managers are “less willing” to let their staff work remotely in future as a result.
The survey looked at the attitudes of workers and IT managers in the London area towards remote working during the Games. The most common problem reported by managers was lost productivity as a result of employees not being able to access applications. Half of all IT managers encountered this problem, whilst 30% felt the strain of providing additional support and noted a sharp rise in the number of helpdesk requests received.
Of employees who were working remotely, 33% were frustrated by not being able to access applications as quickly as they could when at the office.
However, somewhat ironically, according to Blue Coat Systems, the delays experienced by people working at home were in some cases caused by staff in the office watching video playback of the Olympic events.
Remote workers were in those cases accessing the corporate network via the same Internet connection that employees in the office were using to stream video.
“As the video traffic drives network utilisation closer to 100%, it pushes out other applications, causing performance problems,” Blue Coat explained.