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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

London Olympics Might Shift Working Patterns in UK culture

London Olympics
2012 is the year of The Olympic Games and no expense has been spared, but London is gearing up to leave a bigger legacy and just a few weeks full of physical exertion. The Olympic complexes that have been built are providing the world a glimpse into “smart technology” that could very well change the way we live our lives. 

The city has invested over 9 billion in the infrastructure needed to host the games and the plan has been underway for years. The intention is create a lasting legacy for after the games are finished.

Even before the official bid was submitted London professionals toyed with ideas about how to create an infrastructure that would accommodate the athletes and create a sustainable improvement to the city. Some of the plans were socially-geared, others physical. For example the Village that houses the athletes will become affordable housing for Londoners. 

While the committee assigned to designing the arenas that will be broadcasted across the world always planned to change London for the better it is becoming clear the entire world might be altered by these games. The legacy of the London Olympics might lie outside of the realm of sports and instead focus on the technology and the ways we, as a world, work. The games could mark the beginning in a change in attitudes towards flexible working and working from home.

Businesses around the nation have been coming up with inventive ways to ensure work is completed during the games. Telecommuting is one option. While hosting the Olympics is a fantastic opportunity it does bring up logistical issues that could be a nightmare for the transit system. On its busiest day the city may hold an additional 800.000 people who will burst the London transit system with three million additional rides. 

Many workers are hoping that the telecommuting shift might be the catalyst that is needed to change employment options in the long-term. While some are hopeful about change, others believe that the flexibility offered by employers will disappear as soon as the final athletes receive their medals. 

In order for the current work flexibility to continue for the future certain beliefs about telecommuting would have to change within the structure of business. One study is currently aiming to do just that by taking the opportunity presented by the games and studying the way in which employers and employees work in a more flexible environment. The study aims to gather experiences and feedback to gain an understanding of experiences from workers and employers and perhaps provide a way to create a more efficient work-from-home experience. 

The games are expected to bring positive change to London both financially and socially. The surprising legacy, however, might just be a new and more flexible way of completing work for workers not only in London, but around the world. The impact this could have on the office rental market in London has yet to be seen.

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