Flexible working practices are Olympic legacy

Forward-thinking employers are building on the success of flexible working policies during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Going forward, this will be driven by factors such as the economic climate and changing workforce demographics.

Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said: “Post-financial crisis, there was a lot of consultation between employers and employees which resulted in more flexible ways of working as a means of avoiding job losses. With the ageing workforce, people need to have more flexible routes into retirement.”

Employees also appear to be looking to their employer to support their work-life balance. A survey by financial services firm Engage Mutual, published in September, found that 55% of respondents rated flexible working hours as the benefit they would most like to receive.

Such drivers have prompted some employers to expand flexible working opportunities for staff. For instance, Standard Chartered Bank introduced home working, part-time working and flexible hours for staff in the UK, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the US.

Also, O2 piloted flexible working for the 2,500 staff at its Slough headquarters ahead of the games.

Andrew Millard, director of marketing at mobile-working technology provider Citrix, said: “The Olympics was an extended period when people were having to work in a different way. Employers were beginning to promote flexible working, showing how simple and productive remote working can be.”