With the Paralympics in full swing, new research shows that despite the forecasts of doom, London’s financial services firms have been the highest performing sector over the Olympic period.
The research from technology consultancy Portal shows that most firms in the financial services (86 per cent) allowed people to work from home for some or all of the 16 days and that despite this, nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) saw their business continuing with little or no drop in productivity. Other industries did not fare as well, with research across all sectors indicating that over 40 per cent saw productivity fall.
'At a time when the UK economy is struggling to shake off the recession, the productivity of our financial services sector is paramount and the Olympics could have been disastrous for businesses in the capital', said Shamus Kelly, CEO of Portal. 'However, companies in this sector in particular heeded LOCOG’s advice and provided ways for employees to work remotely which has meant there has been very little impact on most businesses'.
The key reason financial services firms were able to cope with the strains placed on the capital was planning. Three quarters (76 per cent) of firms revealed they had spent time planning, with over a quarter (27 per cent) spending more than six months putting in place the plans needed to ensure it was ‘business as usual’.
For 71 per cent of financial services firms, those plans involved upgrading software to allow people to work productively, while a third (33 per cent) updated hardware, allowing people to access email, video conferencing and critical business systems such as finance and HR software.
'Technology is critical to enabling staff to work remotely', said Kelly. 'The remote working capabilities that London’s financial services businesses implemented prior to the Games are a long-term investment that have not only allowed productivity to remain high throughout August, but are also an essential part of any business’s crisis management strategy'.
image: © Kai Chan Vong