The upcoming London Olympics have been the source of much concern, as never before seen traffic levels are expected to bring the City’s streets to a three week-long standstill. However staff at one data center, run by Interxion, will dodge the commute and sleep at the office in a set of space-age pods. London based pod purveyor Podtime has been marketing the pods specifically to businesses concerned that the Olympic traffic will impact productivity. While the notion of asking your staff to literally live in the office may be a little distasteful, the pods pose an interesting solution to the specific, short-term problem.

Houses of Parliament, London Traffic, British Landmark, 2012 Olympics, Data CentersImage (cc) by A. Nilssen Photography on Flickr

The concept of cosy cubby-hole accommodations is far from new — Japan’s capsule hotels have been popular for years, and their success has even spread to Europe. But the pods adopted by the Interxion data center are somewhat different. As stand-alone units they are designed to provide “sanctuary” for employees within a busy work environment. And as such, the company believes they will be perfect for ensuring that staff are available to maintain constant uptime during the busiest of Olympic traffic (both automotive and data), while allowing their employees to relax in a 4 x 4 x 6.5′ pod fitted with laptop holders, outlets, earphones and memory foam mattresses.

It’s a logical step for a company whose work is site-specific. Other companies in London have reportedly offered their staff the opportunity to work at home, rather than venture out into a potentially treacherous and stressful commute. The London Tube is preparing to carry its highest amount of commuter traffic ever — 4.5 million people each day during the games. Even with such significant usage of public transit, Transport for London expects one-third of the Capital’s 9,200-mile road network to be impacted by Olympic traffic.

So while nineteen pods in three locations won’t necessarily have a significant impact on traffic levels or resulting emissions, the initiative does provide another way for companies to keep business moving during the games. But while the Interxion staffers look pretty happy about the pods in their promotional photos, we wonder just how cheerful they really feel about living (albeit temporarily) in a data center?

+ Interxion

+ Podtime

Via Wired, BBC

Lead image by Interxion