London was the first place we saw city workers being encouraged to stay home and telecommute while the 2012 Olympics were in progress. And now, Tokyo is gearing up to do the same.
According to an article in Inside The Games, workers in the city will be told they may elect to stay at home on July 24 to mark the three-year to go anniversary of the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Olympic Games, so the Japanese government can test the impact on traffic congestion.
Japan adopted the idea after seeing London claim that 80 per cent of businesses in the British capital took part in the scheme. It was estimated that one-and-a-half million British workers worked remotely during the Olympics after some of the UK’s largest private companies, such as BT, Royal Bank of Scotland and Sainsbury’s, allowed London-based staff to work in different locations or adapt their working hours.
It’s not a bad idea – and it has gotten a lot of traction in the U.S. already. In fact, as the Super Bowl geared up in San Francisco, employees in specific areas were told to simply stay home, rather than face the road blocks, detours and congestion that characterized downtown in the week leading up to the event.
And the Super Bowl is hardly an isolated incident. Telecommute agreements have been made because of the World Series, Pro Bowl and March Madness.
Of course, one of the greatest examples of a city with such agreements is Boston, since the Boston Marathon is traditionally run on a Monday (rather than a weekend, as are many marathons).
Although using a VPN and being able to work remotely has given rise to the term, ‘virtual office,’ some businesses still fear the concept. Many businesses are reluctant to introduce it due to concerns over the protection of sensitive data – and the lack of supervision of staff.