Saturday, November 25, 2017
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Flexible Working Delivers Gold for Employers

ILM

Before the Olympic games many were worried about the possible effects on the workplace.

Would the event lead to a spike in absenteeism and a lack of interest in work tasks? When it was proposed that some employers would allow their employees the flexibility of working from home the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, commented that to do so would lead to a "skiver's paradise". He questioned the effect that allowing such flexible working practices would have on the productivity of businesses.

Despite the worries, it turns out that overall the Olympics created a very positive effect on the workplace in general. Of those who continued to work in the office, there was a reported increase in morale and camaraderie. Some believed this to be as a result of allowing staff to watch the Olympics whilst at work. Forty one per cent of offices surveyed by the Institute of Leadership Management (ILM) allowed their staff to watch the games whilst working. It proved that actually placing that trust in employees that they would get their work done and watch some of the events they were most interested in had a positive effect on productivity. Thirty seven per cent of those surveyed said that the games actually led to an increase in productivity and sixty seven per cent commented that the games had a positive effect on bonding in the office.

The Institute's survey found that more than three quarters of managers disagreed with Johnson's comments and as a result a number of them are considering the continuation of flexible working. Charles Elvin, the Chief Executive of the ILM, commented: "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." He added that it was hoped that "organisations continue to offer more flexible working, which, when properly managed, is a powerful motivator and helps to attract and retain talent." Indeed to those companies that did not trial flexible working during the games there is another chance to do so during the Paralympics next week.

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