The London Olympics 2012 – Business Planning
We can’t wait for the Olympics. Hopefully there will be a gold rush for Team GB.
The Olympic Games will be held between 27 July and 12 August 2012. But before enjoying the games, businesses do need to consider some issues before the Olympics start.
Business disruption during the Olympics
During the Olympics, London’s transport systems will be much busier than usual, particularly during peak hours. This may cause disruption to your business if you have sites in London, especially those that are close to Olympic sites.
Employee travel plans
Your business should encourage staff to consider reducing any non-essential travel, especially in peak hours. If travel is essential, they should be encouraged to travel at different times or use different routes or modes of transport.
You should also decide what approach to take if employees are delayed for reasons beyond their control. For example, will employees be asked to make up the lost time?
Commercial deliveries are likely to be disrupted during the Olympics. Transport restrictions may mean that deliveries will need to take place at times when employees do not usually work (for example, in the middle of the night).
If your business is considering altering working hours or shift patterns to deal with out-of-hours deliveries, you must consult with your employees before making any changes. Obtaining your employees’ agreement to the changes will help avoid any future breach of contract claims.
Flexible working and homeworking
If your business has sites in London, consider altering your business hours to enable employees to work more flexibly. For example, to help employees avoid disruption to their normal commuting patterns.
If flexible working is not possible, advise your staff that they are expected to work their normal hours and plan their journeys to accommodate any transport delays.
Your business could also consider allowing some employees to work from home.
If you decide to offer either option, you must make sure that the terms of the arrangements are clearly stated to your employees.
Time off during the Olympics: responding to holiday requests
Many employees may want to take time off during the Olympics if they have been able to acquire tickets for an event. Your business will need to think carefully about how to respond to holiday requests (especially if several employees request the same day off).
If your business decides to maintain your normal holiday application procedure, remind your staff of the relevant procedures on a regular basis before the Olympics start.
If you decide to implement new procedures, you should ensure they are communicated to your employees well in advance of the start of the Olympics.
Dealing with sickness absence
Sickness absence in the workplace often increases when large sporting events are televised during working hours. For example, employees may be more likely to stay at home and watch television coverage of the Olympics if they have a minor illness.
Similarly, if they have been refused time off to attend an event that they have a ticket for, they may opt to take an unauthorised day off.
In the lead up to the Games, your business should remind employees of:
your absence notification procedures; and
the disciplinary consequences of taking unauthorised leave.
Watching Olympic events at work
One practical way of potentially reducing absences is to allow employees to watch Olympic events at work. For example, consider putting televisions in communal areas, like the staff canteen.
You should make your employees aware what your policies are in terms of watching Olympic events at work. For example, whether they:
- are obliged to make up time spent watching the events at the end of the working day.
- can watch or listen to Olympic events on their computer. Large numbers of employees watching or listening to events simultaneously on the internet may cause problems to your computer systems.
Volunteering for the Olympics
Several thousand volunteers will perform key roles during the Olympics. Volunteers are required to commit to at least three days for pre-Olympics training and at least ten days during the Olympics.
Your business should decide whether employees who volunteer are required to book holiday to carry out their volunteering role, and, if so, whether they will be given priority over non-volunteer applicants for annual leave. Alternatively, you could decide to allow volunteers to take paid or unpaid leave to carry out their role.
Whatever approach your business adopts, ensure your:
policy is applied consistently; and
remaining staffing levels are sufficient to meet your business needs.
Your business should consider issuing guidelines to employees about how to deal with any offers of Olympic tickets that they might receive from clients.
Consider putting a policy in place if you are thinking of offering similar hospitality to your own clients.
Businesses that are not official sponsors of the London 2012 Games are not permitted to have any association with the Olympics, nor use particular Games marks or terminology.
During the Olympics, specific restrictions on street trading and advertising will apply in areas close to Olympic venues.
If you have any queries about the content of this checklist, please contact Greg Hollingsworth at Hollingsworths Solicitors on 0116 204 7260
Hollingsworths Solicitors provide legal services for businesses and individuals throughout Leicester, Leicestershire and across the country