There has been a mixed reaction to the announcement that civil servants will be allowed to work from home for seven weeks during the Olympic Games, with many saying that it will lead to a disrupted work pattern.

However, the Government has denied that staff will be forced to work from home.  A spokesman said: “Working from home is one option, but only one option. Staff will be expected to work just as hard and for the same amount of hours as if they were in the office.”

He added: “We are encouraging staff to plan ahead and consider different work and travel patterns just as other London business and organisations intend to work differently during the Games.

“This might include walking or cycling, changing their route of travel to and from work or re-timing their working day to avoid the busiest periods.

‘We need to do this because during the Games we are expecting London’s transport networks to be much busier than usual.”

However, Pierre Williams, of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: ‘A lot of private sector workers will feel rather surprised that the public sector have decided to work from home during the Olympic games.

“We are not saying people can’t work effectively from home but at a time when the Government has urged Britons to work harder, a visible sign that the public sector is playing its part would have been welcome.”

And the plan has not gone down well with some business groups who feel that seven weeks is too long for government workers to be operating on a disrupted work pattern.

A spokesman for the Business Services Association said: “We would encourage ministers and Whitehall to apply themselves as energetically as the private sector is to driving the economy forward, Olympic Games or no Olympic Games.”