LONDON—London employers may be seeing a higher-than-usual number of requests for leave in the weeks before the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

According to research from the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP), 14 percent of workers plan to take time off to attend the Games. Could virtual offices stem the tide of holiday requests? Some companies seem to think so.

CIPP’s findings also revealed that some companies are offering flexible working options during the Olympics. Virtual offices fit into flexible work strategies that are appropriate during this global event.

According to the CIPP, 10.3 percent of workers said their employer is allowing flexible working to attend the Games. The same number said that their employer is permitting flexible working so that staff can watch the Games on television and 11.5 percent of employees said their organization is granting flexible leave to volunteer at the Games.

What’s more, 13 percent of employers are allowing workers to catch up on lost hours at the beginning or end of the day or during weekends for attending, watching or volunteering for the Olympics. Allowing employees to work at home from a virtual office could also help HR departments overcome at least part of the challenge.

“Attending the Olympics is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many people. It is not surprising to discover that so many Brits will be taking time off to watch the Games in their home country. It is also good to hear that employers are showing their support for the Olympics by offering flexible working arrangements so that can staff can attend, watch or volunteer at the Games,” says Lindsay Melvin, CEO of the CIPP.

“That being said, it is important that businesses still run smoothly during this time and part of that is ensuring that employee absences are managed appropriately. Payroll and HR departments will have to be more organized than usual and make sure that there are contingency strategies in place in case a number of their staff members are not working their regular hours.”