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The Olympics have boosted demand for flexible working in London

More than half of staff want to work flexibly on a regular basis, survey finds

17 August 2012

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

The Olympics have boosted staff appetite for flexible working in London and the surrounding counties, according to a recent survey.

It found that, following their experiences over the past two weeks, more than half of staff would welcome the chance to work flexibly more often.

Almost a quarter changed their normal working arrangements during the period, achieving better productivity as a result.

Over half of the workers surveyed said that their managers already enable flexible working or would be more open to doing so following the experiences of the past two weeks.

The survey was conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of Vodafone UK between 10 August 2012 and 14 August 2012 among 505 adult workers living in London, Greater London and the Home Counties.

Positive experiences driving demand

Almost a quarter of all the workers surveyed changed their normal arrangements, working from home or alternative business locations for some or all of the two-week period of the Olympics.

Of those people who changed their working arrangements, nearly three quarters said they had worked more productively as a result of the change. They reported that their productivity had increased thanks mainly to fewer distractions and disruptions (34 per cent) and less time spent commuting (32 per cent).

A much smaller share (24 per cent) felt that they had become less productive, identifying distractions and disruptions (15 per cent) as the most important reason for this, alongside concerns around technology, systems and information access.

Over half of all workers surveyed said they would like to opt for flexible working on a more regular basis.

Lack of technology to work flexibly a challenge

Employers’ attitudes to flexible working also appear to have undergone change over the past two weeks: while 30 per cent of all respondents said their employer already allowed flexible working, another 23 per cent felt that their managers would now be more open to such practices.

However, another 23 per cent of workers said the experience had not made their employers more open-minded toward flexible working, highlighting that, in spite of changing attitudes, many organisations still have a lot to do to make flexible working a reality.

Less than half of all workers surveyed felt they had been given all the equipment they needed to work effectively while away from the office. Nearly a fifth of all respondents said they used their own hardware to work remotely, while a similar amount said they had to go to the office to work.

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