A recent one-day flexible working initiative at O2 resulted in an extra 1,000 hours worked by staff, according to figures released by the telecoms firm.
On 8 February, O2 asked the entire workforce at its head office in Slough to work away from the office for the day. Around 2,500 employees participated in the pilot, operating remotely. O2’s aim was to push the boundaries of what is possible through flexible working and to test its contingency plans to manage expected travel disruption and delays during the Olympics.
O2’s flexible working experiment: the numbers
Only 125 mission-critical staff worked in the building on the day. Participating employees saved 2,000 hours of commuting time – the majority (52%) of which was spent working, 16% of people slept a bit longer than usual and 14% spent additional time with their families.
Nine employees in 10 (88%) believed that they were at least as productive as on a normal day at the office, with 36% claiming to have been more productive. In line with the company’s three-year sustainability plan, the experiment also benefitted the environment, with an estimated 12.2 tonnes of CO2 emissions saved.
Ben Dowd, business director for O2, said: “Line managers are used to managing people they can see. Managing them remotely is a completely different thing. Our pilot didn’t solve all of those problems, but it is a good start. We can do a lot more to support line managers in charge of remote teams, but we know it’s not going to happen overnight. We’re educating people about the whole future of work here and there’s still work to be done, but we’re pleased to say this is a fantastic start.”
Ben Dowd is presenting more details of O2’s flexible working experiment in a Personnel Today webinar on 2 May: “London 2012: Is your organisation on track for the Olympics?” – register now.