The Olympic Games start with the Opening Ceremony on 27 July 2012 and run until the Closing Ceremony on 12 August 2012. During this period the impact on travel, transport and logistics will not just be felt in the various sporting venues where the events are being held, rather there will be massive disruptions to regular plans and schedules all across the capital city and indeed across the country. There will undoubtedly be a huge carry-over effect on business operations and the question is whether businesses are prepared for the huge challenges associated with the hosting of the largest sporting event in the world.
Companies should be aware of and plan for the potentially disruptive effects the Olympic games are likely to throw up. Everything from transport to roads to supply chain to workplace absences to security will be significantly impacted upon by the Olympics and businesses must take measures in order to negate the disruptions these issues will cause to their operations. And even small changes to a company's policy, like encouraging staff to cycle to work have to be planned and thought through as this measure perhaps requires the provision of showering facilities at work as well as a place to secure and store the bicycles and of course the safety considerations associated with cycling also need to be addressed. Let there be no doubt that planning is essential if a business is to adapt to the commotion the Olympics will cause.
How long will the impact of the Olympics last?
Another factor that needs to be taken into consideration is that although the Olympics is scheduled over a period of just 17 days, the impact on business will last a lot longer than that. For example, Transport for London warn that there will be some kind of impact on the running of transport in the capital for about 100 days. It's worth noting also that two weeks after the Olympic Games finish, the Paralympic Games begin. They open on 29 August 2012 and close on 9 September 2012 and will bring further disruption.
Prepare for Staff Absences
One of the biggest concerns among British businesses is the expected high levels of staff absences during the games. Companies should ensure that communication channels are open and accessible so that the intentions of staff are made clear and the company can prepare for absences. EssentialSkillz recommends that companies have a specific plan or policy in place that can enable the company to maintain levels of business during the games in spite of the likely increased staff absences. It is also worth considering providing staff with access to some of the more high profile events during the Olympics via something such as a temporary television lounge – this would mean productivity would decrease only for the duration of the event they were watching which is preferable to a member of staff taking the whole day off. Other measures that might help to prevent disruptions include offering more flexible working hours to staff (so that they can cope better with traffic delays or catch their favourite events) and allowing them the possibility of working remotely.
Use of Social Media
Businesses can also expect the use of social media to increase during the Olympics as workers exchange information about events. It's the perfect opportunity for an organisation to set a social media policy in place if they have not already done so, as boundaries can be set about what is the expected level of social media usage in the workplace and more importantly in what ways does the organisation want social media to be used. Some organisations will mistakenly assume that social media is only used for leisure purposes but the reality is that it is fast becoming a hugely important marketing and collaborative tool - a clever social media policy will address this by allowing employees to use social media in a more focused and targeted manner rather than simply denying or banning usage.
The demand on services and resources throughout the UK will be much heavier than normal in the Summer of 2012 and according to Mark Prisk, Minister for business and enterprise, businesses should have a contingency plan in place due to the likely chaotic delays many will face during Olympic time. He said:
“Frustrating events like late running transport, sickness, supplier delays, computer crashes, accidents and fraud can cause nuisance or disruption but if something similar happened during London 2012 the impact could prevent you from conducting business.”
The key message for British business is to plan, to be aware of what is ahead and to be forward-thinking enough to negotiate through the obstacles that the Olympics will create. EssentialSkillz is offering a customized bespoke Olympics business policy course in order to help businesses navigate their way through this uncertain and unstable period. The Olympic business policy can be modified and customised until it is just right for the specific requirements of your company using EssentialSkillz rapid authoring tool O-LAS Author. Businesses which intend to formulate a policy for the Olympics are should contact EssentialSkillz for fuether information. The EssentialSkillz support team will listen to the specific requirements of the business and work with the EssentialSkillz development team to deliver an Olympic business policy online training course that will ensure the business and its staff are fully prepared for Olympic disruptions and can operate as efficiently as possible during the chaotic Summer ahead.