There’s still time to get your business fit for the Games, but start planning – now!
There’s less than a month until the start of the Olympic Games! As London gears up for a summer of sport, many of the capital’s businesses have still to plan for the Games. According to a new CBI survey, 46% of London businesses remain nervous about their levels of preparedness for the Games. Only 37% felt confident about dealing with transport and logistics issues during the Games, whilst 43% said they didn’t know enough about the impact Olympic and Paralympic Route Networks.
Whilst larger organisations and Government departments have developed, tested and fine tuned their Olympic plans over the 12-18 months, 80% of CBI’s respondents had yet to plan any special measures for the Games. Most SMEs probably don’t need to plan to the same level as a major bank, but with the Games just around the corner, the time to plan ahead is disappearing fast – even for the smallest business.
The first (and probably most important) step is to understand what impact the Games will have. Businesses located close to an Olympic venue will probably need a more detailed, long-running plan than businesses based further away. Websites such as www.tfl.gov.uk www.london2012.com and are excellent starting points, giving information on venues, dates, maps and transport links for the duration of the Games.
Developing an effective Olympics plan doesn’t need to be complicated or overly detailed. Every plan will be different, but here are some ideas which could be included to keep businesses running smoothly – despite the Greatest Show on Earth taking place on the doorstep!
- Working from Home: popular, very effective and relatively simple to implement. 50% of CBI respondents plan to use it as the alternative to office based working during the Games
- Flexible Working: using staggered start and end times, flexi-time, time in lieu or adapting working hours and locations can minimise delays, reduce congestion and stress levels!
- Remote Working: relocating staff to other company locations, working off-site, at home or client site can reduce travel times and delays whilst providing ongoing client service
- Use Technology: video conferencing and Skype are just two of many technologies which allow teams to keep in touch easily and effectively – regardless of their locations
- Virtual Offices: provide remote workers online access to all the resources they need, allowing teams to work effectively without travelling. Quick and easy to set up, they are flexible and effective
- Relocation: temporarily moving your business to offices outside London is an effective alternative for many companies whose location means significant disruption during the Games
- Day Offices: hiring offices in a Business Centre on an “as needed” basis can provide instant offices for half a day, a day or a week. Available with no contracts, this is a flexible way to move offices short-term to avoid the busiest or most congested Olympic days
- Alternative Transport: look at using other forms of transport to travel to the office during the Games: consider Walking Routes, cycling, use popular Boris Bikes’ scheme or try Thames water buses and river taxis (just book them now as they are getting busy)
- Communicate the Plan: don’t forget to tell everyone about the plan! This includes partners, suppliers, customers and prospects, as well as staff. Ask for feedback too, this will ensure that most eventualities are covered and good ideas aren’t lost
As with most planning, getting started is often the hardest part! There is a great deal of assistance available from information from official organisations, right through to practical services such as video conferencing, virtual offices, day and temporary office packages which have been specifically designed to help companies work around the Games. In recent months, BE has seen a 90% increase in enquiries for virtual offices, whilst its Bristol, Reading and Milton Keynes centres have seen a 120% rise in London based companies seeking to relocate for the Games’ duration.
We”re providing wealth of information about the Games, its impact on the capital, as well as a unique “Ask Steve” button which allows the site’s visitors to ask BE’s team of experts anything about the Olympics – from venue locations and road closures to video conferencing technology and fines for parking on the Olympic route.