Tower Hamlets Council is enabling its entire workforce of more than 4,000 personnel to work from any location, using any computing device, as part of its 'Smarter Working' initiative.
The borough expects its carbon footprint to reduce by over 300 tons per annum as a result of the move, which will see it introducing desktop and server virtualisation software from Citrix Systems.
The desktop virtualisation offering will enable staff to log-on to office systems from anywhere, thereby reducing the need for office space, which should, in turn, cut overhead costs while maintaining service levels.
An initial roll out of the Citrix XenDesktop system has already been completed, with all desktop applications expected to follow by December 2012. The migration will enable the council to move out of its current residence (Anchorage House), saving it more than £7 million on an annual basis.
A council spokesman said: "The solution will not only allow us to provide a more flexible and secure working environment for our employees, but also lead to business savings, having a direct impact on productivity levels and our bottom line." As London prepared for its "year in the spotlight", Tower Hamlets was particularly keen to enable staff to work from anywhere in order to provide them with "flexibility during a potentially disruptive period", he added. "The new technology supports most staff to work at home, enabling asset rationalisation savings that avoid further job and service cuts," the spokesman said, adding that the counil expected to see a full return on investment in less than two years. The initiatve is based on Citrix XenDesktop 5.5, with the aim of providing workers with Microsoft Windows 7 desktops on an on-demand basis. The virtual desktop, where applicable, will roam with employees regardless of whether they are office-based or working remotely, and will be accessible from any device, including personal laptops, PCs, iPads and Android-based tablets.