By Daren Howell, Technology workplace expert, Sungard Availability Services

London’s population has rapidly expanded; increasing by a staggering two million is 25 years.

The city now stands at over 8.6 million, placing even more pressure on a transport network that is already showing signs of struggling.

Commuting to and from the city is already an arduous task, with images of people squeezing themselves into carriages a far too familiar one - and an experience that will become even more common as the city’s population continues to expand.

Currently, the average worker will spend over 10,634 hours of their career simply commuting – and for London based employees this works out at nearly an hour and a quarter every day. Often in cramped, loud and difficult conditions, working or using the time productively is all but impossible. And as the population stats show – not helped by frequent rail upgrades and unpredictable strike action – this is only going to get worse.

Our Working Lives are due a Transformation

With the speed of business ever increasing, wasting so much time on a daily basis is madness. This can’t go on. Businesses must start thinking about providing their employees with the ability to work from any location, not just their city offices, developing new working practices that can keep business moving 24/7.

Turning to new technologies, including Desktop-as-a-Service solutions, could be the answer.

If the workforce can access business critical information from any device, at home, at a satellite office or even within a shared office space, this would reduce the need to commute into London (and commuting in general) as frequently, avoiding uncomfortable journeys and reducing the pressure on public transport.

Field based staff armed with laptops have always enjoyed work location flexibility but employees normally tied to the office with a desktop PC is symptomatic of handling sensitive information and therefore aren’t afforded location flexibility for fear of data loss and security breaches.

This is also true of laptops where the data resides on the device making it easy to download and transfer data from one device to another.

Virtualising the desktop and applications is arguably the best way to secure your data and provide work location flexibility since the data and processing takes place in a data centre not the end user device, be it a work device or one owned by the employee.

Of course, face to face meetings are still a vital part of business communications, but having that option to work, either from home or a different office location, and then travel outside of the morning and evening rush hours could prove valuable in enhancing both staff efficiency and employee happiness.

Failure to invest in modern solutions won’t help with staff retention – at the moment most businesses have policies in place that were considered as traditional and long-standing at the turn of the beginning of the twentieth century! With today’s ‘Generation Y’ employees expecting new levels of freedom when it comes to working practices, enterprises must wise-up and begin to think outside of the box. A difficult commute is a serious pain-point for an employee; but is it really unavoidable?