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London Olympic Games


									London 2012
Olympic Games:
Turning potential business
disruption to your advantage
through Flexible Working
| contents

contents .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 2
executive summary  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 3
the roundtable .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 6
how bad will it really be?  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 9
what is flexible working?  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 13
the primary challenge: culture  .  .  .  . 16
benefits  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 20
solutions  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 23
where next? .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 27

| executive summary

The 2012 London Olympic Games will be the world’s largest
sporting event with almost 9 million tickets sold, and the
Paralympics are expected to bring an additional 1.8 million
                                                                                         Games                     18,000
spectators. Prior to the Olympics, the UK will be celebrating                            workers
                                                                                                                 Olympic Games
the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, seeing further visitors to the                              170,000                    Athletes

city. With visitors, athletes, media, vendors, and an estimated
viewing audience of 3.8 billion (almost two-thirds of the                   Games
                                                                            spectators                                            6,000
world’s population), literally, all eyes will be on London.                                          5,000
                                                                             550,000 -              technical                    Paralympic
                                                                             600,000                 officials                     Games
The chair of the London Assembly’s transport Committee Valerie                                                                    Athletes
Shawcross AM, describes the period as “around 100 continuous days of
extraordinary operation.” And while “definitive numbers are inevitably
hard to come by, there is a general consensus that the scale of the 2012                 Olympic Games by numbers
transport challenge will be immense.” As some organisations scramble
to test contingency plans and question if they are robust enough to
withstand constant use for one third of the year, other organisations are      6,000                20,000                       25,000
quite complacent, feeling the issue is a nuisance, not a crisis, adopting     Members               Broadcast                    Marketing
more of a “wait and see” approach.                                            of Games                media                      partners
The London Assembly Transport Committee, the Olympic Delivery
Authority (ODA), Transport for London (TFL) with assistance from the
                                                                                          5,400                     8,000
Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the NHS, were charged with                       vehicles                  Journalists
finding a solution. The two-pronged approach seeks to increase capacity                                          Photographers
and decrease usage. Capacity building stumbles along, with some
improvements completed, but years delayed. Many improvements seem

| executive summary

unlikely to be completed in time, while others have been abandoned until       To hear what city firms are doing to ensure business continuity during
after the Games. This shifts much of the focus to a dramatic reduction of      the Olympics and gauge their appetite and understanding of emerging
the number of journeys on the London transport systems.                        flexible work styles, AOS Studley, in partnership with TFL, e-work, and
                                                                               Cisco, brought together heads of HR from city firms to share ideas,
Expecting 3.3 million additional journeys on the games’ biggest days, TFL      concerns and questions around the topic.
estimates that London transport systems will need to see a 30% decrease
in commuter numbers in order to keep the system from experiencing              The following report represents a synthesis of data collected from the
severe disruption. They suggest that this is the minimum reduction in          session, conclusions drawn from complementary research, and resources
users needed to keep London moving during the Olympic Games, and are           to support a shift to flexible working.
looking to city businesses to play a part in the solution by asking them to
examine alternatives to their staff traveling into the city, keeping as many
of the city’s commuters off London transport as possible.

But research shows that the issues coming to light during the Olympics                                     TFL estimates that London
are much broader. As regular users of London’s public transport can                                        transport systems will need to
attest, the transport system is already heavily taxed. “London’s public                                     see a 30% decrease in commuter
transport system carries more people than any other in the world and                                         numbers in order to keep the
                                                                                                               system from experiencing
parts of the system are over 100 years old,” continues Shawcross. London
                                                                                                                   severe disruption
commuters spend 26 million hours a day commuting, most of that time
on London transport systems, and Transport for London reports that
current transport woes will not lessen for at least 30 years. With studies
on occupational stress reporting that commuters frequently experience
significantly heightened stress levels, the Olympics serves only as an
inflection point of a much larger issue. This period challenges businesses
to question the very nature of their working culture and asks them to
examine how they will respond to the demands of a changing workforce
for the 21st century.

The Roundtable

| the roundtable

The group was a cross section of industries with representatives
from legal, manufacturing, resource extraction, retail, insurance and
professional services in attendance. All were from national or global firms
with specific workplace concerns in the city. The group was evenly split
between large businesses (500+ employees) and SMEs (<499 employees).                                        At the 1996 Olympic Games in
Most responses were consistent across sectors and business size, although                                  Atlanta, travel disruption reached
the retail segment did vary from professional organisations in their                                            such a critical level that
planned responses.                                                                                              athletes almost missed
                                                                                                                  their events, being
Our research from the roundtable found that the challenge is two-fold.                                            forced to warm up
                                                                                                                     and stretch on
First, many businesses do not actually believe the severity of the potential
                                                                                                                       city buses.
disruption, referring to this as another “millennium bug”. Attendees felt
the press was blowing the issue out of proportion and that while primary
arteries might experience delays, workers would still be able to make          The whole of central London
their way into work. We heard comments like “none of our staff live in the     will be a managed, restricted
east, so we won’t be caught in the Olympic Village traffic” not taking into
                                                                                area. This means that even                  people a day are
account that Olympic events, parties, and visitors will be converging in all   as a pedestrian your passage              expected in Hyde Park
areas of central London. Others commented that staggering hours would          across certain streets may be              to watch the Games
                                                                               blocked by barriers, making
be sufficient, not realising that Olympic events will take place from 9am-                                                   on large screen
                                                                               common routes impassable.
10pm on most days. Whatever the rationale, many felt that the disruption                                                         displays
would not be insurmountable to navigate within their standard continuity
planning, and those charged with business continuity for city firms fear                   The disruption is not just at Olympic
that too great an investment of time, energy and resources may equate                        venues. Thousands of events have
                                                                                            been planned across the city, many
to a loss when the anticipated transport disruptions do not materialise.
                                                                                                         with 5000+ attendees.

The second challenge is that many businesses are simply unable to see
how they can function for more than a few days without staff coming

| the roundtable

into the office. Attendees feared teams would become ineffective without      Interim solutions look at the Olympic and Paralympic Games as a period
all members present in the office. There was also a concern about how         to be managed and endured with short-term solutions that will have
staff would perceive inequities if some staff were able to make it to work,   the business operational during the potential disruption, and then revert
while others weren’t. One professional services firm interviewed had a        back to business-as-usual after the Games. Long-term solutions see
rather disheartening solution for the issue. “We just plan to fire anyone     the Olympics as an organisational opportunity whereby decisions that
who doesn’t make it to work.” When asked about morale, retention, and         must be made for business continuity can be leveraged for longer-term
employee productivity, she responded, “It seems the only fair way.”           changes in policies, procedures, and processes. Those businesses that fall
                                                                              within the third tier see the Games as an opportunity to examine their
All spoke of certain “essential staff” needing to be present, but the         organisation’s broader workplace strategy, and use the disruption as an
definition of essential seems to cover all roles from reception, executive    inflection point for organisational transformation.
assistants, mailroom, security, catering, accounting, call centres, and
almost any position save that of the highest executive. Most attendees
admitted that this barrier was primarily psychological and cultural, not
one of technological infrastructure. Nonetheless, the barriers remain quite
                                                                                                                                “We just plan to fire
genuine and deep-seated.                                                                                                        anyone who doesn’t
                                                                                                                                 make it to work."
TFL in conjunction with various partners are educating businesses on the
severity of the transport crunch and how best to keep London moving.
Through modelling, transport “heat maps”, surveys and profiling tools, TFL
has accomplished their goal of connecting with 200 city firms to educate
them about the coming disruption and discuss recommended solutions.

As responses from the roundtable showed, however, the issue is less about
Olympic travel disruption, and more about the struggle among many
businesses to embrace the changing nature of work. When asked how
they plan to deal with the Olympic travel disruption, responses generally
fell within three categories: interim, long-term, and transformational.

How Bad Will
it Really Be?

| how bad will it really be?

Before the International Olympic Committee
                                                     22 travel hotspot areas have been identified
(IOC) awarded the 2012 Olympic Games to
London in 2005, it identified transportation                    M1

as the host city’s primary weakness. 5 years                                             A406

later in April of 2010, they reiterated their
position by stating that transportation had                                                                                      South Tottenham                                                   A12

not improved and traffic remained of critical
                                                                                                                                                          Wanstead                      Ilford
concern to the committee. This sentiment was                Wembley
                                                          Stadium and
echoed three months later by the Minister                    Arena

for Olympics and by Lord Coe, Chair of the           Wembley                                                                       Olympic Park    Stratford

London Organising Committee of the Olympic          A40                                                                                                                           A13
Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).                                                Cricket Ground                                                       Bow

Coe described it as “a major risk,” telling the                              Acton                                                                 Leamouth

Assembly that “London’s reputation depended                                              Hyde Park                                                             ExCel
                                                                                                       The Mall
on its ability to transport people effectively in                M4
2012.”                                                               Hammersmith
                                                                                                     Horse Guards
                                                                                                       Parade             Southwark

                                                                                                                                 Deptford                                     The Royal
Shawcross recognises that much of the                                                                Vauxhall
                                                                                                                                                                              Artillery Barracks

                                                                                     Earls Court                                                                              Woolwich
solution hinges on the support of the London                                         Wandsworth

business community. “Around one-third of              A316
Londoners may need to change their usual                                                                                                                                                   A2

travel patterns if the system is to operate                                           Wimbledon                           A205

effectively next summer.{…} Success will
depend, largely on businesses altering their
                                                     The eight main travel hotspot areas are:
delivery arrangements and supporting their           the West End, Westminster, Bank, the South Bank (Waterloo to London Bridge),
staff to work more flexibly.”                        Canary Wharf, Stratford and Canning Town, Liverpool Street and King’s Cross St Pancras

| how bad will it really be?

The ONS modelled ranges of estimates for games-time visitors, but              reduced mobility. Only one-quarter of tube and rail stations are accessible
admits that London is a unique Olympic city. And while the ODA is              and temporary accessibility measures will need to be put in place to serve
confident about the robustness of their modelling techniques, they admit       these users. This will further slow the movement of commuters through
that there are simply too many variables to consider in order to fully         stations. Current models struggle to respond to these sorts of variables.
develop accurate forecasts. According to the ONS preparatory documents,
“games-time visitors cannot be quantified with any satisfactory scientific     Furthermore, models built to estimate the impact were created based
measure of certainty. The variations relate to the numbers of spectators       upon the 2012 upgrade bid timelines. These are already known to be
with tickets for more than one event on the same day, their length of stay     heavily skewed. The Jubilee line improvements have just been completed,
in London and the propensity for them to travel into London on the day         but two years late, and not as many trains as hoped will be running.
of competition.” Where they will stay, how they intend to travel to events     The Northern line improvements have been abandoned until after the
and other variables remain unknown.                                            Games, reducing a critical capacity building component of the overall
                                                                               plan. Models currently anticipate queuing of over an hour for Central
“Atmosphere” tourists, visitors without tickets, are another variable.         and Jubilee lines. ODA’s two-pronged solution, increasing capacity
Beijing’s Olympic Games in 2008 saw an estimated 700,000 such visitors.        and decreasing usage, is already not meeting critical performance
London’s easy access from continental Europe, its global popularity as a       benchmarks.
tourist destination, and its relative safety and security could mean an even
greater number of atmosphere tourists than other Olympic Games have            Decreasing demand is being marketed by TFL through their “reducing,
experienced. Additionally, London residents may also shift their travel        revising, re-routing, re-timing” or the “4Rs” initiative. The programme has
patterns. Normally, commuter numbers reduce by 10% in the summer               a general goal of reducing regular usage by one-third, and TFl modelling
months, but there are significant doubts that Londoners will leave the city    is based upon a fully operational system experiencing no faults. While
during the Olympics. Tourism officials believe many will stay to experience    any seasoned London commuter can report that this is unrealistic, city
the games or host friends and family, and others may be put off by higher      businesses are still not biting. There has been an increase in alternative
plane fares in and out of London during that time, delaying their summer       modes of transportation such as bicycles and river transport, but city
holidays until the autumn.                                                     businesses appear to be slow to appreciate the potential severity of
                                                                               disruption. A 30% decrease in commuter numbers is an enormous task to
While the Paralympic Games will bring fewer attendees, the transport           accomplish, and the lack of response from city businesses reiterates the
system will see a dramatic increase in the number of commuters with            potential for massive disruption.

| how bad will it really be?

Only 20% of our roundtable attendees said they felt prepared for the                But transport challenges in London are not just an Olympic anomaly.
disruption, and yet 85% felt that the period would have a significant               London’s transport system carries more than any other system in the
impact on the way they do business. Although there is growing concern               world, and growth in travel along the public transport system is predicted
among commuters themselves, ODA and TFL believe that without a                      to continue, with at least an extra four million daily trips by 2025. Two of
greater sense of urgency on the part of businesses, it is difficult to see how      the identified 22 hotspots, Victoria and Kings Cross, already require crowd
the London transport system will be capable of handling the additional              control measures to manage overcrowding. Resiliency of the transport
demand.                                                                             system is a constant threat and businesses are slowly coming to the
                                                                                    realisation that they must manage and adapt to that risk.
TFL and ODA are asking for action now. Flexible working programmes
must be developed, communicated and tested quickly if the response is to
have enough effect to reduce demand to the necessary thresholds by the
Diamond Jubilee.

Critical Dates Timeline
Friday 3 August and Saturday 4 August (days 7 and 8 of the Olympic Games) are forecast to be the busiest days

  Late June               27 July              3 August              4 August            12 August             29 August           9 September
   Workforce              Olympic              Forecast to           Forecast to            Olympic             Paralympic            Paralympic
 and volunteers         Games Open            be one of the         be one of the         Games Close          Games Open            Games Close
 begin arriving                               busiest days          busiest days

What is
Flexible Working?

| what is flexible working?

ODA and TFL suggest flexible working initiatives as the best solutions to         “work”, and these activities comprise the psychological sphere. The virtual
reducing transport demand but it can be confusing as to what that term            sphere represents the space of work that occurs outside of a physical
actually means. Flexible working is known by a myriad of monikers: agile          work environment, supported by some technological component. Flexible
working, mobile working, alternative working, activity based working, new         working challenges traditional assumptions about work and workplace
ways of working, to name a few. And within the flexible working model             and examines the intersections of these 3 spheres more closely.
are many new terms: hotdesking, hotelling, hub-working, third spaces,
distributed workforce, virtual teams, unified communications. The list goes
on and on. Suffice it to say that the traditional way of working is shifting
away from a 9-5 desk-bound model, to one where varying degrees of

flexibility exist.

                                                                                   C H O LO G I C

                                                                                                                                     Information &
These alternatives can fall across an enormous spectrum. 95% of the                                 Organisations       Process

                                                                                                                                                              T UA L
roundtable attendees noted that they already had some sort of mobile                                 and People
working programme in place. When asked to describe in greater detail                                                    WORK
what was meant by that, one attendee remarked their programme

amounted to little more than senior executives having laptops and smart

phones, working from home on rare occasions. At the other end of the                                        Behaviour         Infrastructure
spectrum, Norma Pearce, HR Director EMEA for Plantronics, explained that
their staff have no requirement to come to the office; “Our employees’
office becomes their laptop, their phone and their headset.”                                                         Building and
Work occurs in three basic spheres: the physical, psychological, and virtual
spaces. When most people say “I’m going to work” they are referring to
a physical place: their office, store, factory, etc. This is the workplace. The
activities that one engages in at the workplace are also considered                                                 PH yS I C AL               Source: Regus 2011

| what is flexible working?

The Intuit 2020 report, which looked to forecast the twenty most               location campus as one such example. “The days of an all-powerful, single
influential changes we will experience globally by the year 2020, cites        location, world headquarters are numbered. The concept of a corporate
several ways that the changing nature of work will influence our world.        HQ will change from a physical location to a virtual network.” These
“The next decade will see a reinvention of the workplace.” What will that      changes will naturally impact organisational culture, and some fear it may
change look like? Pearce sums it up well. “Work isn’t a place you go, it’s a   harm the employee’s internalisation of the brand, in turn damaging the
thing you do.”                                                                 customer experience.

As Frances Cairncross spoke of the Death of Distance almost 15 years           But culture does not need to fall victim to flexible working. If preservation
ago, he could already see the technological changes that were breaking         of culture is an explicit goal within a new way of working strategy, this
down the meaning of ‘distance.’ In these last 15 years, tremendous             shift can have the opposite effect. An organisation can in fact be bound
advances in the way people can connect over vast distances has improved        more tightly through a greater degree of trust in decision making,
dramatically. Technologies such as telepresence, desk video conferencing,      stronger value driven leadership, and a deeper sense of purpose of work
and VoIP allow people to communicate in less cumbersome ways. Beyond           that stretches beyond that of
simple communication however, is a desire to further break down the            coming to a physical office
barriers of distributed working. People want to be aware, at any given         every day. Gupta concurs,
time, of their colleagues’ location, availability, and connections to other    saying “the companies that
people. Already social tools like Facebook and twitter in conjunction          manage to be successful will
with Four-square and Gowalla have familiarised people with knowing             be those that manage not
a connection’s physical location, and Skype with a person’s degree of          only to develop a network of
availability. Now, new workplace tools will combine all of these features in   global hubs, to distribute their
a unified platform to facilitate a level of workplace social networking that   intelligence around the world,
will transform the way people perceive virtual working.                        and to engage directly at the
                                                                               local level, but also to bind
“That longstanding symbol of the business world, the corporate HQ,             their business together with
will be no more” says Anil Gupta, professor of strategy & organisation         deeply held values and a highly
at the Smith School of Business at The University of Maryland. Gupta           developed infrastructure.”
cites the move to distributed hubs and away from the single physical

The Primary
Challenge: Culture

| the primary challenge: culture

Norma Pearce is shocked by the lack of urgency among businesses. “I             But businesses are slow to see the link. Many organisations believe that
am quite surprised at the apathy. Businesses are being so short-sighted.        their business continuity plan will see them through the storm of the
Do they not foresee the challenges, the disruption and the stress this          Games. Most larger organisations have a plan for snow, bird flu, tube
will create?” Given that Plantronics is fully flexible, logistical challenges   strike or other type of crises. These plans are generally not intended
like the Olympics or a weather crisis are not a concern for the firm. “We’ll    for long term use, however, and are frequently poorly tested. With the
experience no break in business continuity.”                                    period between the Diamond jubilee and the close of the Paralympics
                                                                                amounting to almost one-third of the year, even the most robust
Pearce admits that while appropriate technology must be in place as well        continuity plan will be stretched to its limits.
to support the shift, it is usually an issue of culture and trust that stands
in the way of making the change to flexible working. Kate North, Global         As our roundtable attendees reflected, most organisations already have
Director of Development for e-work, a flexible working online training          some sort of mobility initiative in place. This, coupled with a continuity
consultancy, agrees. “This is not so much an issue of business continuity       plan, can lead organisations into believing that they are prepared,
as it is of culture.”                                                           but experience from Atlanta and Sydney tells a different story. “Most
                                                                                organisations have some mobile work programme, but they simply
Roundtable survey: barriers to workforce mobility                               don’t do it well,” says North. “We see a lot of organisations who have put
                                                                                programmes in place, but they woefully underestimate the need for clarity
                                                                                and formalised training.” Pearce agrees. “We found our biggest barrier
            9%      9%                                                          was from our middle managers. They needed an entirely different type of
      5%                                                                        training programme than the line staff.”
                                           ■ Managing in a new way
                                           ■ Cost
                                                                                This is not uncommon. Middle management tends to be one the bigger
                                           ■ IT connectivity                    challenges in moving to a flexible working programme, says Thomas
                                           ■ Employee engagement                Davenport, author of Thinking For a Living. “Managers struggle to shift
                                           ■ Executive buy-in                   from evaluating visible job performance to assessing invisible knowledge
                                                                                achievements.” This is especially true of direct line middle managers.
                                                                                Pearce understands their hesitancy. “They are afraid they won’t be able to
                                                                                do their job effectively if they can’t physically see their direct reports. They
                                                                                are afraid of losing control. But that simply isn’t the case.”

| the primary challenge: culture

This notion of needing to see employees in order to assess their               three-quarters surveyed cited virtual collaboration as critical to innovation
performance, “presenteeism”, is a difficult cultural barrier to overcome.      and business growth.
For years, managers have been taught the wisdom of MBWA, or
“Management By Walking Around”, Dave Packard’s revolutionary                   Demographics play a significant role in the culture shift as well. For the
message to move managers out of their cellular offices and get them            first time in history we have four generations in the workforce working
engaged with their staff. The Intuit 2020 Report challenges us to imagine      side by side. While the younger generation (“digital natives” as described
a world where “companies motivate and manage employees who never               by Marc Prensky in his book Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants) show
set foot in their office.” Engagement is critical in building strong teams,    a somewhat higher aptitude at building and maintaining virtual
and many managers are simply at a loss of how to transition this skill to a    relationships and find distributed teams less challenging, the appetite for
distributed workforce. How do you “walk around” a virtual team?                flexible working does not necessarily run along strict demographics lines.
                                                                               Adoption can occur due to many different factors, and while many new
One of the biggest cultural shifts that must occur in a move to flexible       recruits expect greater flexibility in their work environment, organisations
working is a shift in management style from that of MBWA to managing           must be cautious to not make broad assumptions about employees’
by outputs. The move away from presenteeism can be daunting and                proclivity for flexible working. Appropriate testing, analysis, and change
counterintuitive for many managers, while line staff already operate           management must accompany a workplace strategy to ensure successful
their personal lives in a very mobile way, and expect the same from their      and consistent adoption rates.
professional lives. This dynamic tension is often resisted and becomes
a business anchor, stalling innovation and hurting recruitment and             When looking at a virtual office and the changing face of workplace
retention. If harnessed, however, it can instead become a powerful             technology, the question of paper invariably arises. The paperless office is
business and innovation driver.                                                not a realistic option for most and paper remains a powerful psychological
                                                                               and logistical barrier against flexible working. The manner in which we
North believes businesses must embrace these sorts of skills or risk their     share and assimilate information is fundamentally changing through
competitive edge. “How often do you hear a manager saying, ‘Let’s wait         the proliferation of tablets, smart phones, and digital readers, however
to make that decision until everyone is here,’ It’s well meaning. Inclusive.   paper still has its role. The increasingly multidimensional and multilayered
But nimble organisations can’t afford to wait to make decisions. If they       nature of the internet has created a media that does not seek to replace
delay, a competitor who is already working virtually will beat them to it.”    or emulate paper, but rather is something fundamentally different.
And many already have. In a 2009 IBM study of global CEOs, more than           Organisations are finding that through the use of new technologies,

| the primary challenge: culture

they can begin to phase out their dependency on paper, making its use               the size of the firm that provides their goods and services. “ While the
a matter of choice, not dependency. As organisations become more                    workplace still sends a powerful brand message, its meaning is shifting in
comfortable with this technological shift, it becomes clearer that paper as         both the eyes of the employee and the consumer.
a barrier to flexible working is once again a cultural, not logistical barrier to
flexible working.
                                                                                     The Intuit 2020 Report challenges us to imagine a
                                                                                     world where “companies motivate and manage
As paper roots a worker to a place, so does its digital counterpart,
                                                                                     employees who never set foot in their office.”
computer files and software. Larger organisations have learned the
importance of files and software being resident on a server in order
to reduce the risk of hardware failure or theft. Many organisations
already use technology that allows access to servers through VPN
tokens. These virtual private networks create a secure access corridor
for people to remotely access material resident on the organisations’
server. The challenge with VPNs is that they can be costly and slow. The
next generation of access-anywhere files and software is in the “Cloud.”
The cloud offers access through the internet to remote servers. While
some have concerns that the cloud is unsafe, these concerns are largely
unfounded, and once again hinge more upon a barrier to developing a
culture of trust than that of actual technological security.

 Another perceived barrier to the changing nature of work is that of the
client relationship. In the past, an office was emblematic of status and
quality to both customers and staff. Research shows that increasingly,
clients care less and less about the size or location of an office. Clients
may engage a firm and never see the physical workplace the firm inhabits.
“The web and mobile technologies will become the great equaliser of
big and small with customers no longer knowing – or even caring about


| benefits

Three primary drivers and benefits to flexible working are to minimise risk;
improve market responsiveness and nimbleness of the organisation; and
to attract and retain top talent. As organisations move to a distributed         Case Study YELL
model of working, peer-to-peer collaboration will become even more
                                                                                 Yell, an international business directory service closed 18 of its UK
important. In the organisation of the future, HQ will not be the repository      satellite sales offices, totalling 70,000 sqft, in order to move to more
of innovation and information. Rather, divisions and individuals will work       virtual work environment for 700 of its mobile sales staff. Yell entered
with one another to share information and collaborate directly and HQ            into a new working model with serviced office provider Regus who
                                                                                 have created an innovative drop-in service for Yell, who can make
execs will seek to facilitate that knowledge sharing. The Intuit 2020 report
                                                                                 use of any of their 140 business lounges, cafes, and offices. The new
predicts that successful firms will be those that are able to most effectively   working model is expected to save Yell around £1.5m annually.
manage the emerging “free agent nation by new ways of connecting and             Simon Taylor, head of property at Yell in the UK, said: “Our field
housing the ‘contingent workers’ that are forecast to comprise of 40% of         sales teams’ use of and reliance upon a physical place of work has
the US workforce by 2020.”                                                       significantly changed in the last year due to developing technology
                                                                                 and we no longer require our network of sales offices.”
                                                                                 Taylor is confident of the business outcomes the move will achieve.
Gupta believes that execs “will expend the bulk of their efforts in trying to
                                                                                 “Not only is this far more cost effective, lower risk, flexible and
eliminate technical, organisational, cultural, and motivational friction that    sustainable but will, over time, increase productivity as less time is
can get in the way of direct collaboration. {...} It is only when leaders are    spent commuting and working in poorly equipped places such as
confident that the company will not fall apart that they are comfortable in      hotels and cafes.’’
                                                                                 Mark Dixon, CEO of Regus agrees “More and more organisations
pushing the envelope in creating a distributed organisation.” Leaders that
                                                                                 are beginning to adopt more agile, lower risk, lower cost ways
are able to shift their way of thinking away from the known, centralised         of working. The question of how, where and when we work is
model, towards the new, decentralised model, will find themselves more           an important issue for all of us and those businesses that are
appropriately placed for a world of free-agents, emerging markets, and           able to respond in the most flexible way will secure the greatest
                                                                                 competitive advantage. Where Yell is leading, others will follow.”
the flexibility hungry new generation of workers..
                                                                                 Taylor believes others origination will follow their lead. “I think this
                                                                                 is the future of office working. We’re the first to really adopt it as a
Some businesses believe that the oft cited “war for talent” is over due to       way of using serviced offices. If you have a large mobile workforce but
recessionary pressures. While the phrase may be passé, the truth remains         don’t want a permanent office, this is a brilliant way of doing that.”
that employees have not felt valued during the recession and are looking
to move. HR research yields that one-third of employees feel unvalued

| benefits

during the recession and will leave as soon as another position is available    Dr. David Lucas reports that the stress from commuting raises heart rate
and 13% of senior executives are looking to move to foreign markets             and blood pressure levels to that of riot police on duty and warns that
in order to escape the economic downturn. Recruiting and retaining top          these levels of prolonged stress can cause long-term health issues. This
talent cannot be viewed as a soft cost any longer. Attrition costs the          sort of stress during an average commute begs the question of what
UK £1 Billion annually and even more so in the financial sector where           kind of worker businesses are getting when they arrive at the office.
executive movement to foreign markets is even greater.                          Lewis reports a syndrome called “commuter amnesia” where commuters
                                                                                actually mentally block the experience from their minds, becoming, in his
Attrition is felt all the more acutely within knowledge worker firms. In        words “commuter zombies.” Research from Hewlett Packard suggests that
October 2005 McKinsey Quarterly wrote of the importance of ‘tacit’              the zombie syndrome does not diminish for at least 90 minutes into the
workers to organisations. Tacit, or knowledge workers, cannot simply be         working day. This is a tremendous loss of productivity as well as taxing on
replaced like any technology or process. They retain in themselves a high       employee morale and well-being.
degree of resident information that must be supported and cultivated for
organisational success. “It follows then, that an organisation’s workforce      Lucas, the CBI, and the UK National Work-Stress Network, among
strategy must be elevated to the same level of importance as other              others, recommend flexible working alternatives as a means to alleviate
high-priority initiatives found in the strategic plan” (Karen Lojeski) Or, as   commuter stress and stress related illness and associated costs.
Paul Jackson said, “If a virtual environment poses greater challenges to
effective work than non-virtual, then it requires special attention” from

Business analysts have long known the impact of issues such as employee
retention on an organisation’s bottom line. But studies show that
seemingly softer social indicators such as employee well-being within
organisations directly equates to economic performance (Harter, Schmidt
& Keyes 2003). The Confederation of British Industry estimates “the total
cost to the economy of mental health and stress problems at £5 billion
a year - equal to industry’s total annual losses through theft and many
times the costs of strikes.”


| solutions

Returning to the Olympics as an inflection point for organisational      All these changes must be communicated with sufficient lead time. Many
change, it is easy to see why flexible working is being recommended by   of these suggestions will also require additional training. For example, if
TFL under the 4Rs in initiative.                                         asking your staff to cycle to work, help them develop the best route and
                                                                         offer additional bicycle safety briefings. Staff working from home for the
                              REduCE – Reduce or eliminate the           first time will also need training for the experience. There may also be
                              number of staff coming into the            technology provisioning issues to consider to support the new way the
                              office by encouraging them to              organisation works. The sooner an organisation starts this process, the
                              work from home, in serviced offices        better, and with only a few months left before the Games, work must
                              or work hubs, or other company             begin now.
                              locations away from the city centre.

                              REvISE – Revise the
                              mode of transport your
                              essential staff use to get
                              to work.

                              REROuTE – Explore
                                                                         Many workers will have no alternative to their set travel schedules or work
                              alternative routes for
                              the way essential staff
                                                                         location. Retail, restaurant, and hospitality workers will need to come into
                              come to work.                              to work to serve the visitors to the city. While these businesses can look
                                                                         to reroute and revise their staff’s journey to work, realistically retiming
                                                                         will be a struggle, and reducing simply unrealistic. If anything, they may
                              RETIME – Stagger your essential
                                                                         even need to increase their staffing demands. This puts the onus on
                              staff’s working hours to off peak
                              hours. Reschedule suppliers and            knowledge worker firms to reduce an even greater proportion of their
                              deliveries to non-peak hours. don’t        staff’s transportation usage in order to meet the commuter reduction of
                              forget staff and clients travelling in     30% required to keep London moving.
                              from other cities.

| solutions

Solutions can be approached through 3 tiers: interim, long-term, and       An interim solution looks at how
transformational.                                                          to get an organisation through
                                                                           the period of the Olympics to
                                                                           maintain business continuity
                                                                                                                              Travel Resources
                                 InterIm                                   without significantly altering the                 for Business
                      Stop-gap only for Olympic period                     way the business operates during
                                                                                                                              (Links to websites –
                            Telework programme
                                                                           times outside of the disruptive                    please click on link to open)
                                                                           period. Many organisations,                        Action Plan Template
                            Flexible working hours
                                                                           however, recognise that the
                               Commuting plan                                                                                 Planning Checklist
                                                                           future of work is flexibility
                                                                           and see the Olympics as the
                              Long-term                                    opportunity to set an executive
                        Programme beyond Olympics                          level focus on flexible working
                    Data collection around IT, HR, and FM                  initiatives.
                                 IT investment
                                                                           Long-term changes build on
                        Agile working culture change                       the work that would occur in an interim solution, and expand this to
                                                                           include a much deeper exploration of the technological and cultural
                        transformatIonaL                                   considerations that are integral to a move to flexible working. Long-term
             Programme beyond Olympics that looks to leverage
                                                                           changes would look to integrate the strategy of IT, facilities, and HR, to
                           investment for ROI                              see where synergies in strategy can be exploited. In particular, long-term
        Explore business cases for cost savings and sustainability gains   solutions would focus heavily on ensuring that the IT infrastructure and
                         Physical workplace redesign                       planning needed to move to a flexible work environment was robust
                                                                           and well resourced. Flexible working without proper IT provisioning is
                      IT and CRE road map exploration
                                                                           destined to fail. All levels of solutions also require the creation of a shared
                        Policy and process restructure
                                                                           language. In Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas

| solutions

Survive and Others Die, they see the creation of a shared language as             performance over time”. “One of the five ways to build a healthy
one of three critical components to making change stick. Not only does            organisation is through [reshaping] the work environment to create
a common language facilitate smoother development of agile working                healthy mind-sets.” Furthermore, they stress the importance of a change
policies and social contracts, it is also more inclusive. “A common strategic     initiative to accompany the reshaping of a work environment, despite the
language allows everyone to contribute.”                                          belief by some that change management is “soft stuff”. In fact, “senior
                                                                                  executives who told us that when they’d implemented initiatives to
Transformational flexible working requires another level of commitment            change their employees’ mind-sets and behavior during a transformation,
from the organisation to not only explore logistical and strategic issues,        they were twice as likely as others to report that it had succeeded.”
but ones of philosophy and culture. This sort of cultural shift is best
accomplished during a visioning process in which an organisation
is challenged to question the very nature and meaning of work                     Performance Benefits of Agile Working
and workplace. Within transformational change, the physical work
environment and corporate real estate concerns are more fully integrated                             More efficient internal communications
into the discussion. Transformational change seeks to fully leverage the
two biggest cost centres for business, their people and their property, and                 70                              More efficient external communications
seeks to yield the highest possible performance from both. This may be
through an office redesign, higher space utilisation, or portfolio divestiture.             60
                                                                                                                                                    Improved productivity
Through this process, the greatest ROI can be achieved, as seen in the
case study of Yell.                                                                                                                                               Improved HR metrics

Both long-term and transformational change focus very heavily on
organisational culture and require a strong change management                               30
component. In their book Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations
Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage, Scott Keller and Colin build the                      20
                                                                                                                                                                               Cost reduction
case for creating a healthy organisation in order to gain competitive
advantage. “Health is the ability of an organization to align, execute,
and renew itself faster than the competition to sustain exceptional                          0
                                                                                            Source: Flexible working: can your company compete without it?, BT

Where Next?

| where next?

If an organisation is looking to move to flexible working, North
encourages them to be very methodical and thoughtful in their approach.       Don’t unDerestImate
“Business can’t underestimate the level of change that formalising a          •	   The amount of time you’ll need to develop and communicate
distributed work programme will make to their organisation.”                       plans
                                                                              •	   The need for clarity: create explicit social contracts, team
When asked her opinion of flexible working’s bottom line impact, Pearce is         agreements & protocols
unequivocal. “We surveyed before and after our move to smarter working        •	   The need for a pilot: find holes in the plan now while they
and our satisfaction and engagement increased by 24%. EMEA had the                 can be fixed
best results ever. The employees are willing to give more and we credit it
to flexible working.” She feels that they are more nimble and this equates
to higher revenues. While there was initial resistance, they now see their
                                                                              BrIng the rIght peopLe to the taBLe
flexible working style as a market differentiator. She encourages others to
follow suit and not to be held hostage by the perceived barriers. “To start   •	   Ensure an integrated approach across HR, IT, FM, and CRE
the process is not that complex. There are market standard assessment         •	   Garner senior level sponsorship
tools that make it so easy. And with help from resources available, we        •	   Engage managers first
got there.” What does flexible working mean to Pearce? “No matter what
comes our way we can keep making money.”
                                                                              traInIng anD tooLs
                                                                              •	   Leverage off global best practices
                                                                              •	   One size does not fit all: staff and managers need different
                                                                              •	   Find tools that offer easy deployment for rapid behaviour change

  AOS Studley is a global independent Real Estate Consulting, Workplace Consulting and Project
Management Company, with more than 600 clients in 20 countries. Combining a wealth of expertise
and capabilities in Real Estate and Workplace, AOS Studley helps clients reduce occupancy costs and
                            implement high performing flexible strategies.

If you would like to find out further information on AOS Studley and our services, please contact us.

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             Email:                  Email:

                                             Key Contact:
                                      Tom Godwin MEng (Hons)
                                        +44 (0) 75 083 277 87

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  AOS Studley confirms that the information herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. While we do not doubt
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