How are you preparing for the Olympics? It’s a question more and more businesses are being forced to ask themselves as the Games rapidly approach.
By David Saul, managing director, Business Environment
In July 2012, London will welcome millions of visitors for what’s being billed as ‘the greatest show on Earth’. Undoubtedly, the Games will place an enormous pressure on the road and transport networks and, in doing so, many challenges for businesses both in London and across the UK. Having a business strategy in place that ensures organisations do not fall at the last hurdle will be critical.
Disruptions to the road network will affect deliveries in some parts of London and close to other Games venues outside of the capital. Shifting schedules to make or receive deliveries at night or outside the busiest times will be a must. Even if you are not expecting urgent deliveries, then at a minimum you should have readiness planning in place for post and mail.
The other major impact will be on staff retention during the Olympics and Paralympics, and for me, this is an area where many businesses are ill-prepared.
Some research Business Environment conducted at the beginning of 2012 showed that just a quarter of business owners think flexible working hours will benefit their business during the Olympics, only 14% are intending to take on extra staff to cope with increased work load and just 15% will use video conferencing to replace face-to-face meetings.
It goes without saying that all businesses, including those based outside of London, need to consider the impact of the Games on staff, customers, visitors and suppliers and make arrangements to reduce disruption, operate as smoothly as possible and maintain productivity levels.
Staff should be encouraged to reduce any non-essential travel, especially in peak hours. If travel is essential, they should be advised to travel at different times, or by using different modes or routes. Remote working may be a good option for some staff members.
Alternative arrangements should also be made for face-to-face meetings, with conference calls or video conferencing providing easier, more effective options.
At Business Environment we want to ensure our clients who take office space with us are able to access crucial information about how the Olympics and Paralympics will affect their businesses. Clients who have an office within London will be able to work out of Basingstoke, Milton Keynes, Reading and Bristol centres. We’re also offering one-month contracts for non-clients who need short-term space with no additional upfront costs.
But it isn’t just about putting preventative measures in place to reduce disruptions. With the Olympics ‘effect’ hitting London, the Games are also a great opportunity to join in on the positive atmosphere.
Why not host an Olympics party with key sporting events on large screen TVs or allow staff to leave work earlier to arrive home to watch certain Games? It really should be an opportunity to reward staff for their hard work, enjoy British sporting talent and make the most of a once in a lifetime opportunity to hold the Olympics in the UK. Get your business strategy right for the Games and you could also be a winner.