Employers urged to start preparing for the Olympics

Organisations need to start planning for next year’s Olympic Games in London, to reduce the risk of unauthorised absence and to make sure they get the best from workers during the event, Acas has said.

With one year to go until the London 2012 Olympic Games begin, employment relations service Acas has said that organisations need to start communicating procedures for the games to employees and make sure those with tickets get holiday requests in early.

Acas has published guidance for employers ahead of the Olympics, which urges them to be as flexible as possible with staff and make sure expectations on attendance and performance are communicated as soon as possible.

Acas chief executive John Taylor commented: “Big sporting occasions can present a number of dilemmas for firms who might be worried about the impact of less productive employees or the after-effects of lively celebrations.

“Employers need to start planning now to avoid problems later on, check policies and procedures and remind staff how these work in practice.”

According to research from recruitment consultants Badenoch & Clark, 79.9% of employers are yet to establish a leave policy for the games, despite the fact that many workers have already been allocated tickets.

Also, with one in six (15.7%) of the 1,000 office workers who took part in the research admitting that they would consider taking a “sickie” to watch the games, employers could still face low attendance rates if they take a hard line on leave.

Nicola Linkleter, managing director at Badenoch & Clark, said: “There will be 8.8 million London 2012 tickets available and the ticket ballot has already demonstrated the huge appetite in Britain to attend.

“Corporate Britain needs to ensure that they can continue to run their organisations during London 2012 and employees need to know what is expected.”

Both organisations have stressed that, if it is managed correctly by employers, the Olympics could prove to be a good opportunity to engage staff and boost morale.

A model policy on working hours during sporting events, such as the Olympics, is available on XpertHR.