Londoners will soon begin working from home in their thousands as organisations, worried by congestion in the city, encourage telecommuting during the London 2012 Olympics.
For some of the capital's CIOs the Olympics will be a remote working experiment. But it is also an opportunity for CIOs to show not only that they can oversee swathes of workers by providing the correct mobile device management tools and platforms, but also show their C-level colleagues that they are in line with the business goals of the company.
Recent studies have shown that mobile workers are both more productive and prone to working longer hours.
A trial by mobile operator O2 saw an increase of 155% in staff accessing the virtual private network (VPN) and also accelerated the adoption of cloud collaboration services resulting in a third of workers saying they had been 'more productive'. Furthermore, over half of the 3,000 employees said they had spent the majority of the 2,000 hours in time saved travelling actually working.
As such CIOs who can navigate through the Olympic period smoother than a chauffeur-driven IOC member in one of the designated 'London Games Lanes' could set a precedent at their organisations that has huge implications for the way it continues to operate.
With the ubiquity of reliable broadband networks in the UK there is little reason why workers cannot be as productive, if not more productive working from home, with the tools available to them when they are working remotely, or why they even require an actual office space at all. Many have embraced bring your own device (BYOD) strategy without even knowing what it means and are already accessing business applications and VPNs from their own smartphones, tablets, ultrabooks - and are probably considering buying another device sometime soon.
Your staff are already saving business documents in secure clouds from their own portable devices, and only the foolish would not be considering a private cloud or making sure cloud-hosted business apps are not optimised for mobile as staff try to make the most efficient use of any 'dead time' they have.
The role of the CIO, therefore, is not just to ensure staff are equipped with ultrabooks, can access enterprise networks securely, and to limit glitches and downtime during the London 2012 Olympics. It is also time to show business acumen among their C-level colleagues and champion how remote working can lead to significant infrastructure savings and help shape a happier and more productive work force.