The Olympics and your business - get on track

As Olympic fever grips the nation and our athletes gear up for competition, some employers may be considering the challenges their business may face. While the Government hopes the games will provide the opportunity for increased sales and a much needed boost to the economy, it is also urging businesses 'not to get caught out' by potentially busy roads and problems with employee management. Should you be preparing an action plan?

Your action plan should:

  • Consider if your business is going to be affected?
  • How will it be affected?
  • Include suitable arrangements/alternatives for your business.
  • Allow enough time to test your plans ahead of the games to ensure they are effective.

Main factors to consider include:

Transport - get ahead of the games

Roads and the public transport network will be especially busy during the Olympics, not only in London, but across the UK at event locations such as Weymouth, Portland and Eton Dorney. This could impact not only employees getting to work, but your customers, deliveries, visitors and suppliers. It is important to plan ahead by making sure you are aware of the dates and times of major events. Inform those who may be affected to avoid busy stations and roads, reduce journeys, or even use alternative methods of transport, such as walking or cycling, if possible.

Employees

Although businesses have no obligation to accommodate their staff's sporting interests, there may be ways to minimise disruption from employees travelling to work, or watching the games. Where possible, you may wish offer your staff flexible working options such as:

  • Working from home or a more suitable location
  • Compressed weeks, i.e. condensing five working days into four
  • Changing your core hours of operation, i.e. starting or finishing earlier in the day
  • Staggering staff start and finish times; useful if you operate on a shift work basis
  • Allowing staff to swap shifts
  • Allowing screenings of events on the premises.

Your clients, visitors, suppliers

Contact these groups ahead of the games to ensure they are aware of potential disruptions. For clients and visitors, you may consider alternative methods for meetings, such as conference calls, video/web conferencing, or using the telephone. In regards to deliveries, are they strictly necessary? Non-perishable goods for instance could be ordered in advance. You could also work in cooperation with other local businesses to use the same suppliers for common goods or reschedule appointments to less busy times.

The Government offers various guides on how to help your businesses cope during the games. Make sure you're prepared.