London is set for a summer like no other. For the first time since 1948, the UK’s capital is hosting the Olympic Games. As the tourists flock in for a piece of the action, London is going to get busy, and local public transport will slow to a crawl as a result.
Anticipating these problems, the government has encouraged businesses, especially those based in east-central London and around Canary Wharf, to facilitate remote and flexible working practices in time for the Games. Hopefully, this will alleviate traffic congestion on the transport network and ensure that business does not grind to a halt in the capital. With more and more professionals using mobile devices for work outside the office, many large corporate employers are in the process of rolling out flexible and remote working practices.
Remote working is a hot potato for some managers. Can they really trust their team members to motivate themselves to work at home? Is flexible working a productive use of time? How will remote and flexible working be tracked?
If a manager has a professional team, then they should be trusted to work productively and efficiently wherever they may be. In some cases, workers will work even harder from home or during off hours, as they appreciate the autonomy and freedom they have been granted.
It all depends on the type of work they do, but as long as they have access to all the data, documents and services they need, there’s no reason why homeworking and flextime can’t be just as productive as working in an office can.
Ensuring that performance doesn’t suffer
Many managers are also concerned about inadvertently breaking customer service and service-level agreements as a result of implementing the new practices. It’s one thing to ensure that all the necessary work is taking place – it’s another to predict when customer or partner enquiries will spring up.
Customers should not suffer from these changes, so managers need to put provisions in place to guarantee that all requests are dealt with in a timely manner. This could involve routing calls to employees’ home phones or forwarding communications to them via email.
Remote working is productive and efficient working
For an employee, flexible and remote working can be great. It gives you the freedom to manage your own time, so you can skip rush hour altogether. This style of working suits many people, and they enjoy the autonomy it grants them, but it’s up to the individual to ensure that this privilege is not abused.
Flexible and remote working might be scary for managers and business owners, but granting staff this benefit can produce surprising results. Fewer office distractions and a more comfortable environment makes for more efficient work.
The London Olympics have presented a challenge for local businesses. When the Games open on the 27th of July, we’ll see how they cope with the pressure. Those who have planned, tested and implemented flexible and remote working practices are likely to have fewer challenges than those who have buried their heads in the sand are.