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Olympics give boost to workplace morale and flexible working

The Olympic Games has had a positive impact on the workplace with increased morale and productivity, stronger bonding among employees, and better perception and take-up of flexible working, according to a recent survey.

The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) canvassed more than 1,000 managers to find out how organisations had been affected by the Games.

Two-fifths (41%) said that they allowed staff to watch the Olympics in the office. Rather than being a distraction, 37 per cent said that it had boosted productivity and two-thirds (67%) reported that the employees had bonded over the shared experience.

Despite fears in the run-up to the Games that businesses were not preparing adequately for the potential disruption, nearly half of managers said there had been no adverse impact on their organisation and 79% said their jobs were not affected.

The Games were a nudge for almost one in five (18%) organisations to trial flexible working, the research found. Flexible practices tried out included working from home and variations in start and finish times. Some 43% of respondents said that they would continue with flexible working practices after the Games finished - evidence that the Olympics will have a legacy in the workplace too.

Three-quarters of managers took issue with Mayor of London Boris Johnson's assertion that working from home was 'a skiver's paradise'.

Charles Elvin, Chief Executive of ILM said, 'It is encouraging to find that businesses took the opportunity to trial flexible working practices and those that did found it far from being a skiver's paradise - their people were productive and motivated. We hope that organisations continue to offer more flexible working which, when properly managed, is a powerful motivator and helps to attract and retain talent.'

Acas can provide guidance for organisations seeking to establish The right to request flexible working arrangements and has an advice leaflet for employees thinking about  applying for flexible working, see our Advice leaflet - The right to apply for flexible working (for requests made before 30 June 2014). The Acas training course 'The route to successful employee engagement' looks at the range of working practices that can strengthen your business' productivity, innovation, turnover and improving attendance.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.

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