Olympics promote benefits of flexible working

Almost half of organisations which trialled new ways of working during the Olympics are likely to continue them, according to research by the Institute of Leadership & Management.

Almost two in ten (18%) organisations trialled new ways of working during the Olympics, with working from home and altered start and finish times the most popular options. Some 43% of those said that their organisation is likely to continue to operate these working practices after the Olympics.

The post-Olympics survey of over 1,000 managers shows a majority (65%) of UK businesses said that the Olympics were less disruptive than expected; with nearly half reported no impact on their organisation and 79% of managers saying their jobs were not affected.

Almost half (48%) of managers said that the Olympics had resulted in higher morale in the office. Over a third (41%) of organisations allowed staff to watch the Olympics in the office. As a result 37% of managers reported being more productive and 67% said the workplace bonded over a shared experience.

On the subject of letting staff work remotely, 76% of managers vehemently disagreed with Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s pre-Games description of it being “a skiver’s paradise”, with 18% of managers feeling that it created a more positive perception of working from home and trying out new working practices.

Charles Elvin, Chief Executive of ILM, said: “After such an uplifting London Olympics, it was great to discover that many organisations also felt some benefits.

“It is encouraging to find that businesses took the opportunity to trial flexible working practices and those that did found it far from being ‘a skiver’s paradise’, their people were productive and motivated.  We hope that organisations continue to offer more flexible working which, when properly managed, is a powerful motivator and helps to attract and retain talent. With the Paralympic Games starting in a few days, it’s another opportunity for businesses that didn’t trial flexible working during the Olympics to do so in the coming fortnight.”

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