TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady has suggested that businesses should consider allowing employees to watch the top Olympic events from home or in the office. Her argument is that companies should let staff start early or later in order to cut absenteeism and raise productivity.Whilst this view was decried by some business leaders, the most astute businesses will have recognised the long-term benefits of encouraging this type of flexible working, which worked well for many organisations during the London 2012 Games. Occasions such as the Olympics offer businesses the opportunity to demonstrate an innovative approach and keen consideration for their employees’ work/life balance. Changing work expectations Work is increasingly becoming a thing we do, and not a place we go. A combination of changing expectations from the workforce and advances in technology now means that employees do not physically have to be in the office to fulfil their responsibilities. For example, cutting out travel time to and from the office can greatly improve job satisfaction. As the world of work continues to change, the pioneering companies that embrace flexible working, particularly during events that capture the public’s imagination such as the Olympic Games, are likely to have happier and more productive employees. A recent Vodafone survey of 8,000 employees in ten countries revealed that 83 per cent of respondents said adopting flexible working had resulted in improvements in productivity. The key for businesses implementing these policies is to ensure that employees are equipped with the tools they need to be able to work remotely whilst not sacrificing productivity and motivation. Driving this change in employee expectations has been the advancement in technology that enables a seamless flexible and remote working experience. Technology such as high speed broadband, enterprise social networks and video communication mean that it is less vital for employees to be in the office to complete tasks. Tech-savvy millennials in particular will expect an option to work from home, provided that the business can offer the necessary tools to accomplish this. This requires organisations to upcycle the technology they have to drive this new way of working.
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We were given a behind the scenes tour to explore the magic of a US toy inventor’s workshop, one that has operated for 30 years, and found out the structure in place could provide some great inspiration when creating a workplace culture.Image: Shutterstock
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