By David Saul, Managing Director of serviced office operator, Business Environment.
With youth unemployment passing the one million mark for the first time since records began, it is perhaps unsurprising that three in five UK businesses (59%) wish that London Olympics money had been invested elsewhere, with more than a quarter (26%) claiming it should have been spent on training young people to help them secure employment.
The research, which Business Environment commissioned, will come as a blow for the Government who last month launched a drive to maximise the economic impact of the Olympics, billed as the greatest show on Earth.
Due to the general negativity felt by businesses, many are ill-prepared for the Games, sparing little thought for staffing levels or alternative methods of travel. Just a quarter (25%) say they think flexible working hours would benefit their business during the Olympics, 14% are intending to take on extra staff to cope with increased work load and 15% will use video conferencing to replace face-to-face meetings.
Although gloomy, the results of the survey are possibly predictable. We’re living in a difficult economic period, with businesses struggling to make a profit. It is understandable then that companies are sceptical about how London 2012 will directly increase their bottom line. Only a quarter (24%) of UK companies believe the Olympics will boost their business and as few as 17% say they will use them as a way of selling products or services.
Despite Transport of London recommendations that workers based in the capital think about walking or cycling to work, just a third (29%) of London businesses say that they will change their travel habits.
Businesses are simply not acknowledging the effects of the Olympics and are therefore being a little naive when it comes to maintaining staff levels and reducing the impact caused by increased traffic congestion.
It is critical that all businesses, including those based outside of London, consider the impact of the Games on staff, customers, visitors and suppliers and make arrangements to reduce disruption, operate as smoothly as possible and maintain productivity levels.
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