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 London has planned, all along to change their world with the Olympics, the reach is even more far reaching. The true legacy of the 2012 games might not lie in the structures built, but rather the shift in how work is conducted before, during and after the Olympic games.
Businesses in and around London have long expected nothing short of chaos as athletes, fans and fanatics converge on the already congested streets of London. It is projected that the most popular events could draw up to 800,000 extra people making 3 million additional trips on the London tube. This has forced many businesses to think outside the box and adapt their proceedings to accommodate work-from-home set ups for their employees.
Many hope that the adaptation will last longer than the 2-week run of the games. Some may argue that this is the catalyst that was needed for businesses to seriously consider offering their staff flexibility in the workplace. Others would suggest that this flexibility is simply an answer to a need. Business would rather have their workers conducting business from home than not conducting business while sitting in traffic. Naysayers believe that the flexible nature of business will dissipate as the closing ceremony darkens the Olympic venues once again.
In order for a true shift to occur in the business world, leaders would have to change the way they see telecommuting. A study is underway to map the experience of employers and employees during this period of telecommuting. The study will gather information in an attempt to better inform businesses about their telecommuting options. It is the hope of researchers that information can lead to a more successful move to options for employees.
The 2012 Olympics is only around for a short period of time, but it is possible that the legacy it leaves on London will be extensive. The telecommuting trial could potentially open the minds of employers around the world to work-from-home options. It could also have far reaching effects on the office rental market in London.
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