The government has waived away rumours that civil servants had been told to stay at home during the London 2012 Olympics by suggesting there would be no reduction in the amount of work they do but instead vary their travel patterns.
Dismissing newspaper reports that Whitehall had told staff to “stay home for the summer” due to Olympic disruption, a government spokesman said in a statement:
“We are encouraging staff to plan ahead and consider different work and travel patterns during the games. This might include walking or cycling, changing their route or travel to and from work or re-timing their working day to avoid the busiest periods.”
17 departments, including the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice, have signed up to the government’s target to vary 50 per cent of journeys by their civil servants. The Home Office and the Foreign Office, which both have signifiant roles in the games, have pledged to change their travel arrangements where possible.
The government statement went on: “In some cases working from home is an option, but it is only one option, it is not appropriate for all staff. In every case, staff will be expected to work just as hard and for the same amount of hours as if they were in the office.”
The Department of Transport, which is leading the planning process, was not able to say how many staff had opted to work from home.