London 2012: the Olympic Torch arrives on 18 May

Are you ready to let the Games begin?

London 2012 is finally here! With over 14,000 athletes from 200 countries competing in more than 26 sports across 37 competition venues, it will be the greatest show the UK has ever staged. A remarkable occasion, but how will it affect your business?

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games takes place from 27 July to 12 August and 29 August to 9 September, respectively. The Games will inevitably cause disruption to businesses across the UK, particularly in London itself. Businesses involved in the Games or close to competition venues will have already considered business continuity plans, but it is not only these businesses that will be affected. Your employees will be caught up in travel congestion, security alerts and diversions; many will book annual leave to attend or watch and some may request additional leave for volunteering. Most will want to keep up with developments on TV, Radio, over the Internet, and using Twitter and other social media. With a little bit of planning, employee engagement and early communication, you can manage the impact of the Games and use the occasion to foster your own team spirit. 

  1. Know what’s going on, when 
    www.london2012.com has a wealth of information. Use it to find out what events take place when and where and for up-to-date advice for businesses. Go to www.tfl.gov.uk for public transport information, and go to www.homeoffice.gov.uk or local police websites for security information.

  2. Consider how you will be affected
    If you haven’t developed a comprehensive business continuity plan, at least set up a task team to discuss how your business and employees will be affected. The team should consider staffing levels, travel disruption, technology problems, reduced productivity, health and safety, and supply chain disruption. It may be useful to check business insurances for any additional considerations.

  3. Engage employees
    Embrace the Games. If you don’t, your employees will do so without you using their own devices. Productivity will be down and you will miss a great opportunity to foster team spirit. Get employees working with you to manage the disruption. Get them to take responsibility about attendance and get them to work together to ensure resources are in place. Let employees take the lead in planning team events or viewing popular events to harness the positive momentum.
  4. Put plans in place
    Talk to employees early about their plans for annual leave during the Games period. Make temporary changes to working time, flexible working arrangements, company policy or established practice and procedure. Consider home working (but bear in mind your responsibilities for your employees’ wellbeing, health and safety, so you will need to consider risk assessments). Increased Internet use may put a strain on services; so test technology and put back up plans in place. Check your communication mechanisms and consider alternatives to fall back on in the event of an emergency.

  5. Communicate, communicate, communicate…
    Communicate early about how you expect the business might be affected, about what plans are being put in place, about how the Games will be celebrated in your business, and about what you expect from your employees during the Games. Of course, not everyone will be interested in watching the Games, but if you plan early, involve employees in that planning and communicate clearly, your business and your employees will be ready to let the Games begin.