“Managed correctly, the Olympics has the potential to provide a boost to employees at a time when the continuing economic climate threatens morale” – ACAS.
Many of thousands of businesses in and around the Capital will be affected by the arrival of the games on 27th July this year. Travel chaos appears to be at the forefront of most business fears and you only need to take a look at the predicted figures to understand why with 800,000 visitors expected on the busiest days.
However the logistics of getting their employees to the office is perhaps only part of what will be troubling employers in the capital who will no doubt be concerned about how staff perform once they get there!
How to deal with staff expectation for the games and to be fair to employees during the Olympics provides a genuine challenge for management across the UK. Maintaining an honest and open approach is the advice given in a report issued by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) which highlights the main issues for employers to remember when dealing with staff before and during the games. The report underlines that management should be:
1. Flexible about working hours
2. Open and communicative about expected performance
3. To be fair and consistent about requests for time off
4. Clear with staff regarding attendance
Flexible – If flexible working is not already in your business model a temporary introduction of home and mobile working during the games will offer an affective way to help staff to avoid congestion problems in the capital. Alternatively adjusting office start and finish times to avoid peak travel periods could be considered.
Performance – Businesses across the UK will be affected by the excitement of the games but the biggest impact will surely be felt by London businesses, being physically surrounded by the hype. Remember that the games provide a fantastic, free opportunity for team building within the office. Many of those who are not lucky enough to have tickets to the Olympics will have a genuine interest in watching live coverage. Management might consider allowing staff to watch communal tv sets during certain events in order to help staff feel included within the celebrations.
Time Off and attendance – Requests for time off and holiday will be at a peak with some staff choosing to get involved with the Olympics and others going away on summer vacation with family. Last minute requests may also come through so it is important to set the rules early to avoid conflict and to be consistent with the time you allow staff to take off for the games.
The debate over whether the overall impact of the Games on London businesses will be a positive one is yet to be settled but for now the reality remains that, love it or hate it, the Olympics is coming, and coming fast! If your company is looking for temporary office space during the summer in areas outside of the Capital call 020 3773 2893.
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