Transport in London can be a headache at the best of times, so it’s no surprise that many of London’s biggest businesses are putting contingency plans in place for this summer’s Olympics. Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Horsham MP, has called on London’s biggest financial firms to offer staff the opportunity to work from home during the games, to alleviate potential problems with the transport network during the Olympics.
At a special Olympics Cabinet Meeting, Maude encouraged London’s businesses, especially those based in Canary Wharf, to allow their staff to work remotely over the summer. It’s thought that Canary Wharf’s train stations will be the most congested during the Olympics, as tourists head to the Olympic Park located nearby. Many of the city’s top financial professionals are expected to receive the go-ahead to work from home, as well as civil servants and other professionals, with KPMG, Deloitte and the Canary Wharf Group all supporting the idea.
Olympic Rings at St. Pancras: Jim Linwood on Flickr
Mobile workforce management is something which many businesses already embrace, with flexible and remote workers enjoying the freedom of working from home or on the move. There are many things for participating businesses to consider, including staff home broadband connection reliability and speeds, supplying VPN access to a network or server and the management of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Considering the government has already warned that broadband connection speeds could be impeded during the Olympics, mobile devices could prove even more important.
Business managers’ main concerns about remote and flexible working revolve around business continuity: the ability for a business to ensure that critical functions are continually available to customers, suppliers, regulators, partners and others who need access. It’s about ensuring a business can continue without halt, regardless of adverse circumstances. If London’s businesses struggle to cope with transport disruption then they need to step their game up to cope with the Olympics.
Remote working is a key way of improving business continuity, as long as workers can be provided with the right tools for the job. Calls to their office extension can be forwarded to their home phone or mobile device, while VPN connections can help them access secure networks from their home computers or mobile devices. Not only does this give employees access to up-to-date information, but it also means that managers can keep track of their staff’s activities even when they’re out of the office.
The summer is going to be uniquely busy in London, so while some plan to put up their employees in a hotel for the duration of the Games, smart businesses are investing in mobile workforce management technologies which can help them cope with the disruption. Putting these measures in place will not only cut costs in the short term – it will also leave businesses better able to cope with future stresses and strains.