Colin Stanbridge, CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, helps you get ready for the biggest event in London this decade
Olympics are nearly on top of us. We might still have more than 100 days to go, but you really have to have got all your preparations in place now if you’re a London business. So here are the top five questions you must address now to ensure your business operations run as smoothly as possible during the London 2012 Games.
1. Are you exploiting the Olympics as a PR and business networking opportunity?
There will be thousands of visitors to London who also happen to be businesspeople. They will be coming to a couple of events at most, but will be staying in London a lot longer.
So this is your chance to meet companies from abroad, to network and meet and show off your business. There will be lots of events during and after the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Try the British Business Club on the Olymmpic website, which is starting to build a great calendar of events. If you’re a member of organisation such as the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, then find out what your organisation is doing around the Games – I can guarantee most will be doing something.
The Olympics is also huge opportunity to PR yourself nationally and internationally. There will be hundreds of journalists looking for stories that aren’t sport-based. Business organisations, tourist agencies and inward investment agencies will be looking for stories to give to those journalists. So get in touch with them and share your business story – it’s a fantastic PR opportunity.
2. Have your staff planned their routes to work?
How are your staff going to get to work during the Olympics? There is very good micorsite from Transport for London showing where transport pinch points will be during the Games – and spots like London Bridge and Bank are going to feel the crush.
But there are plenty of tube stations that will be okay. You need to encourage staff to plan routes that dodge the pinch points, maybe getting off a stop or two then walking, or cycling instead.
Asking people to commute in earlier or later than usual could help too – again, check Transport for London to identify the busiest times of day to avoid. You could also encourage staff to take annual leave during the Olympics.
3. Have you get the tech capability in place for staff to work remotely?
You could offer your staff the option of working from home. Working remotely won’t suit all businesses, but it is a good viable alternative for those it does.
If that’s the plan, though, you must ensure they have the broadband capability and tech in place to be as productive as you need them to be. And have you got the ability for large numbers of staff to work remotely at the same time?
4. Are staff allowed to watch Olympic events?
This might sound like a trivial one, but you need to think about it now. If three quarters of your office are likely to want to watch the cycling final, and you let them, you need to make sure no important meetings are booked that afternoon. That goes for all other events you’re going to let staff watch too.
If you’re not going to allow employees to watch the Olympics, expect arguments. Either way, laying out a policy early on (i.e. now) will save you a headache come this summer.
5. Have you stockpiled deliveries ahead of the Olympics?
During the Olympics, business deliveries by road are going to be tricky. So have you planned how to stock-pile non-perishable goods that you need regularly? That’s supplies like your printer toner, your bottles of water, things you get once a week or fortnight.
If you stockpile, you can still operate when your suppliers can’t reach you.
More on the Olympics for London businesses…
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