Smart Business
Transforming a generation

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games played host to some extraordinary performances. These weren't just at Games venues either - businesses in the UK took up the baton too. They used London 2012 as a catalyst to transform their processes and improve the way they work.

Remote Working

Out of office

During the Olympics, businesses learned that employees don't need to be in an office to do their jobs. In fact, many businesses recognised that they'd outgrown the traditional office environment. They saw that travelling to and from the office:

  • Wastes time
  • Costs money
  • Damages the environment
  • Takes its toll on employees

What's more, tying your business to an office can restrict growth and limit the pool of talent you can attract. So, with an extra 60 million passengers on the tube during London 2012 (that's 30% more than normal), what better time to test a remote working policy?

Flexible Working

Does everyone need to be in the office at the same time? This was another issue that was brought up by the Olympic travel issues. The prospect of people trying to get into work at the same time, on an already overcrowded transport network, presented a few challenges for employees, including:

  • Increased stress
  • Longer travel times
  • Higher travel costs

In this scenario, businesses were looking at increased absenteeism and employees arriving late for work. In addition, Cisco research shows that 8% of employees took time off to attend live events and 21% of employees watched events on company laptops. Combined with travel issues, this threatened the productivity of businesses during the Games. However, many of them found a way round this by implementing flexible working policies.


Locked up

Security was a significant concern prior to the Games. At Beijing 2008, businesses battled 12 million cyber-security threats a day. In the run up to London 2012, the UK expected to encounter between 12 million and 14 million cyber-threats a day. Businesses without a robust network infrastructure were taking a chance and faced:

  • Financial losses
  • Damage to their reputations
  • Loss of confidential data


Make the connection

It seemed like everyone wanted to watch the Games, even people who had never taken an interest in sport before. That meant corporate networks faced the prospect of lots of employees streaming the Games at work. And with many firms running remote and flexible working policies at the same time, it looked like networks were in for a tough time. Businesses were facing a situation where they couldn't:

  • Work productively
  • Collaborate effectively
  • Work remotely and use mobile devices
  • Keep critical applications running

Plus, there was the cost of maintaining out of date networks. As a result, Cisco research shows that a quarter of businesses expected connectivity to be the main source of disruption to their business during the Games.