THE SECRETS OF BUSINESS AS UNUSUAL

MAKING better use of flexible and home working is a key area of focus for Deloitte in the run up to 2012. Quite simply, our people cannot do their jobs if they are struggling to move around the city. It won’t help the Games organisers or London’s transport authorities either, if unnecessary journeys clog up the network. Transport for London aims to reduce “background” traffic in parts of the capital by 30 per cent and has urged businesses to reduce the number of commutes by their staff to help. The request appears to have had a positive response. Deloitte research suggests that over a third of companies intend to allow greater use of flexible or home working during London 2012. Yet for many, there is much work still to be done.

I chair Deloitte’s own Games Readiness Steering Group, which was created to assess the potential impacts on our business and consider any actions required to ensure we deliver the best possible client service during the Games. The group consists of representatives from a number of areas, including human resources, IT and procurement.

FIRST STEPS
Before implementing or expanding flexible working policies, businesses need a set of planning assumptions about the impact on their operations. This summer, Deloitte will assess client demand and examine our resourcing patterns. We will then survey our people to understand their intentions around annual leave in the summer of 2012. This will allow us to pinpoint when we might face pressure from staff unavailability, when flexible and home working is appropriate and when we are likely to need our people in the office or at client sites.

Flexible working will not work for every business and is hard to adopt in certain industries, but will certainly form part of Deloitte’s preparations for next summer. While getting this right for Games time is vital, I would urge businesses to think long-term. London 2012 should be a catalyst for businesses to introduce new, smarter ways of working across the organisation, resulting in improved workforce resilience. This should be one of the legacy benefits from the Games.

But businesses need to move quickly. Home working has implications for IT departments that need to be factored in. Deloitte has fast-tracked a number of projects to ensure technology is in place to make the experience seamless for our staff and positive for clients.

Next summer will be “business as unusual” and companies will need to think and operate differently to continue to deliver the levels of service expected by their clients.

David Gill is a partner at Deloitte, the official professional services provider to London 2012.