O2 tests flexible working with mid-air outdoor office


Operator conducts experiment with office suspended mid-air in London to demonstrate the benefits of flexible working

O2 has today created a mid-air, outdoor office in London’s east to test the possibilities of flexible working.

The office is suspended over four metres above Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch.

O2 is working with a small business employee (pictured) to conduct a morning of work to demonstrate that with the right technologies and tools, people can work anywhere.

From 9am until 1pm today, the flexible worker is conducting his usual daily business, from industry research and presentation writing, to speaking to clients on the phone.

Passersby can get a closer look from the mid-air office through the live video link www.o2.co.uk/workanywhere.

O2 Small Businesses head of sales Claire Darley said: “For small business teams or entrepreneurs flying solo, the ability to remain connected to their business at all times is essential.

“By keeping costs low and employees agile, implementing effective flexible working practices is increasingly important for small British companies.

“We are calling on a greater number of small and medium businesses to review their flexible working arrangements in what is going to be a very big year in terms of events in the UK.

“Our approach connects a range of products and services under the Joined Up People service – helps all types and sizes of businesses increase productivity, work collaboratively, reduce costs and maximise competitiveness and responsiveness through flexible working.

“Often this involves using simple cost effectiveness technologies that most small businesses often already have.”


  1. O2’s recent mid-air flexible working stunt highlighted that a traditional office space is no longer a necessary requirement for today’s SMEs. Whether working from home or suspended four foot above an East London street, technology can provide SMEs with the ability to work flexibly and collaboratively.

    Collaboration software is a flexible ‘office in the pocket’ solution which brings countless possibilities for SMEs. The most obvious benefit is that the central office becomes redundant. Taking this cost out of the equation vastly reduces overheads, which goes a long way in aiding initial growth and enhancing competitiveness. The need to travel to meetings is also unnecessary as these can be held via online sessions using high definition video conferencing. Documents and screens can be shared, while also having that face-to-face contact traditionally only associated with a physical meeting.

    Hosted collaboration software is a cheap option for businesses because there is little up-front investment and you only pay for what you need. This ‘virtual office’ allows SMEs to benefit from the connectivity, efficiency and business continuity typically only associated with much larger organisations. Subsequently the improvements to customer responsiveness, operational effectiveness and staff satisfaction are vast. Finally, this allows SMEs to shift the focus away from tiresome operational and cost issues and onto business agility.

    Andrew Millard, Senior Director, Marketing EMEA, Citrix Online Services Division.