With the summer Olympics well and truly around the corner, what plans do you have in place to manage staffing and keep supply chains running over the event?
This summer will see London transformed into a celebration of Olympian sport. The impact of London 2012 cannot be underestimated: it will bring money into the economy, boost the UK's reputation as a global nation and boost national morale.
However, employers have some more day-to-day considerations to think about. With thousands of extra visitors in the capital and 10.8 million ticketholders for events, we can expect the capital's transport infrastructure to be placed under significant strain.
This presents a number of challenges for companies. It's important to consider the impact the Games will have on your daily operations. While it will primarily impact on London businesses, it is likely the effect will be felt in other parts of the UK too.
Effective preparation is essential if you are to ensure staff can get into work on time, or find somewhere to work, and that you can meet demands from your customers and keep supply chains running.
However, while it is clear companies should start planning now – if they haven't already – many are yet to fully prepare for London 2012.
The Olympics offer many opportunities for UK firms, but only if they have the correct business continuity plans in place.Staffing
Given the large numbers of spectators, combined with a high number of tourists, London will be significantly busier over the course of the Games, which kick off on July 27th.
It is important to start thinking now about how you will manage your staff over this period. Depending on a company's proximity to Games venues and transport hubs, employers will need to start thinking about how their staff will get in to work.
Talk to your staff and come up with ways they can plan their travel to work – are there different routes they could take? Is car-sharing a possible idea? Could you allow employees more time to get into work? Depending on your proximity to a Games venue, it is highly likely staff journeys may take longer.
Another option is to think about home working. While this won't be suitable for all companies, there are certainly many that will be able to take advantage of it.
For larger companies, a preparatory trial of a home-working initiative is a good idea.
Staging a flexible working pilot in advance of the Games, perhaps for a week, will allow you to have a 'dress rehearsal' and enable you to spot changes you might need to make when you come to do it proper.
If home working isn't an option, there are ways to make working patterns more flexible – by changing shift patterns, for example.Could working from another company location be feasible in some circumstances?
Also, it's a good idea to start planning for 'absences' over the Games - when staff might take time off but only to watch the Games on television. Think about how you could be more flexible with holidays and time off in lieu in order to accommodate this.Logistics, supply chains and deliveries
With the road network in London under pressure over the Olympics, there could be potential disruptions to business travel, deliveries and collections.
A good starting point is to get hold of a timetable of events so that you know when and where they are taking place. London 2012 has published a free toolkit that contains this information.
This will help you to better plan operations – you'll be able to see which of your regular supply routes might be affected and plan accordingly.
As with staffing, you can allow more time for deliveries and consider alternative routes. But it might be the case, especially with deliveries into central London, that there will be significant disruption.
Access into the capital will be difficult, especially if trying to enter an area close to a Games venue or event.
It might be that you need to consider stockpiling goods or making bigger deliveries. Alternatively, you could plan overnight deliveries to avoid the day's disruption.
Also, it's important to keep suppliers and customers informed. Failing to meet deadlines and deliver products can impact on your reputation, but by doing all you can to keep customers updated you will be working to safeguard your brand.Security
Security is of paramount importance to the Games and much is being done to ensure the event is as safe as possible.
However, there is still a lot companies can do to minimise safety and security risks.
Threats range from terrorism to attacks on infrastructure. Ensure you have adequate business continuity measures and contingency plans in place.
If IT networks go down, what measures can you implement to ensure your operations can continue?
Have you completed a risk assessment that covers the possibility of a terrorist attack?London 2012 offers a wealth of opportunities to businesses.
But it is crucial they ensure they are as prepared as possible. Start planning now for the Games – leaving it until the last-minute is dangerous. There are a number of things to think about, from your staff, your deliveries and your IT networks.