Almost one-third (29%) of organisations have no plans to deal with disruption caused by this summer’s London Olympics, despite the majority expecting to experience some form of disruption during the Games.
This is according to BT’s Race to the Line Survey, which found that 87% of private sector firms and 65% of public sector organisations believe that they will experience some disruption, such as staff absence, during the Olympics and Paralympics.
Two-fifths (40%) of organisations are expecting problems with staff attendance, with workers unable to get to work due to travel congestion or wanting time off to attend or watch the Games. However, in similar research carried out by BT on the impact of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, only 28% of organisations reported problems with absenteeism.
Steve Wheeler, local business director for London BT Business, said that organisations should consider the impact of travel disruption, adding that some commuters may face waits of around half an hour to get onto train and tube platforms in peak hours during the Olympics.
He commented: “I experience the snow every year. In London, we grind to a halt. How many of you can get in when it snows? Everything stops for two days. This is going to be like snow for eight weeks.”
The survey of 1,200 UK businesses, 29% of which are based in London, also found that many of those organisations which expect to be directly affected by the Games are taking steps to deal with disruption during the Olympics, with 70% looking to improve their flexible working provisions and one-third of private sector firms preparing for the Games by planning to hire temporary staff.
Geoffrey Mead, partner at law firm Eversheds, said that HR can take steps in advance to help reduce disruption: “It is not too late for HR managers, and others responsible for personnel matters, to prepare their organisations for the Olympics. Clarifying the likely staffing needs of the business and refining or developing clear staff policies, especially those dealing with absence procedures, as well as ensuring they are communicated clearly to staff, will go a long way towards avoiding many of the short-term problems that could arise.”
He added that staff should be asked about their plans to request leave over the Olympics “well in advance” so that the organisation can consider the best approach to deal with requests.
For the latest news and advice on dealing with employment issues around the Games, read our employer’s guide to the London 2012 Olympics.