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Survey predicts no respite for transport network during Games despite appetite for home working

There have been warnings for months, but today marks the first day that the true impact of the Games will be seen by London businesses and their employees. From today, up to three million extra passengers are expected to join the twelve million regular daily passengers on London’s transport network, and there are likely to be delays and frustrations.

At Skype we’re doing our bit for the Games by giving our staff the freedom to work from home, which we hope will make them more productive during this period. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, recently likened home-working to a “skivers paradise”, but the findings of a recent survey that we carried out amongst UK office workers suggests that the UK is ready for more flexible working, and technology such as Skype is helping with this.

According to our findings 58% of British office employees believe they can be just as productive (36%) if not more so (23%) than they would be in the office. This view supports previous claims that flexible working arrangements can bring down staff absences and turnover, which contributes to overall better production.

As for using the Games as an opportunity to “skive”, our research found that 67% of London’s office employees will not be working from home any more than they do usually during this time. A staggering 53% have been declined the chance to work from home, despite 82% wanting to do so. This highlights how the UK lags countries like Finland, Sweden, Australia and the US in terms of liberal working practices.

Working from home has really come on, technologically, over the last couple of years and so the infrastructure for employees to be as productive at home as they are in the office is readily available and should be taken advantage of during the Games and beyond. Having verbal and face-to-face contact is crucial to 73% of those polled, who believe telephone and video conferencing software helps them be more productive when working from home but businesses which routinely offer them are in the minority.

Here are some tips you might want to bear in mind when considering working from home:

  • Find a comfortable setting in your home that inspires you to work.
  • Ensure you have access to all of the files you need. This will stop any surprises when you login.
  • A high speed broadband/internet connection is very important to being productive at home. Speak to your provider to make sure you are getting the best speeds.
  • Make sure the software you have installed is compatible with the files you will be accessing.
  • Make sure you have the most up to date version of Skype and other technology. To download go to http://www.skype.com/intl/en-gb/get-skype/
  • Start group chats on Skype with colleagues; these can be used for quick IM discussions or called for conference on either voice or video.
  • Make sure you have the Skype ID of the contacts you are planning to have a meeting with whilst working from home for video calling.
  • If you have calls to make you might wish to read about our calling packages.
  • For video calling ensure that you check the camera’s position, settings and lighting. A quick way to do this is to click on Tools > Options > Video Settings and you’ll see a live video of yourself as you would appear in a call. Click on Webcam Settings to adjust the camera. Mac users can click on the Skype menu > Preferences > Audio/Video. Experiment with lighting and camera position until you’re happy.
  • Take the notepad you use in the office and use it at home instead
  • Our research shows a clear divide between the views of employers and employees but both united by a common goal – how might we create an environment which allows us to do our jobs more effectively? When you contrast 31% of people pointing to lack of face time as a reason for lower productivity with only 6% of them having access to video conferencing facilities, you start to wonder whether the challenge is technological or behavioural.

    About the Survey
    All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2063 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th – 13th July 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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