According to BT’s recent Race to the Line Survey, of the 1,200 UK enterprises that took part, 87% believe that they will experience some disruption to their businesses during the Olympic Games this year. It is anticipated that issues for businesses will
include; staff attendance, productivity, supply chain disruption and higher hotel and travel costs.
Employees may want to take time off during the Olympics if they have obtained tickets for the games and/or if they want to watch televised events. Employers will need to think carefully about how to respond to holiday requests, especially if several employees
request the same day off. ACAS issued guidance for employers in July 2011 ahead of the Olympics which urges employers to be as flexible as possible with staff and to take steps to ensure expectations on attendance and performance are communicated as soon as
Alison Loveday of Berg commented: "Employers should bear in mind that if they take too hard a line when deciding whether to grant leave requests, they could still face low attendance rates if employees "pull a sickie" and opt to take an unauthorised day
off to watch the games. It is therefore, important to ensure that employers have in place effective absence procedures which are properly implemented. Employers may also consider, depending on the nature of the business, allowing employees to watch some TV
coverage whilst at work or during their breaks.
Given that January is the start of the holiday year, many employees will be putting in their requests for leave now. It is therefore advised that employers take this opportunity (if they have not done so already) to assess their staffing needs over the Olympic
period and that guidelines are drawn up on how to deal with the allocation of holidays. This may be by way of implementing a specific policy or adapting a current attendance policy. Inevitably there will be circumstances where employers will have to use a
certain amount of discretion. However, every effort should be made to ensure that such discretion is exercised fairly and consistently.
Furthermore, during the Olympics, London’s transport systems will be much busier than usual, which will affect businesses based in the capital and also those travelling down for business. Businesses may consider altering their business hours, offering more
flexible working or the ability to work from home during this period.
In terms of corporate hospitality, businesses should consider issuing guidelines to employees about how to deal with any offers of Olympic tickets or other hospitality they might receive from clients and/or customers to ensure compliance with the new Bribery
Act. They should also consider putting a policy in place if they are thinking of offering similar hospitality to their own clients.
It is important therefore, that businesses make preparations now to minimise disruption in the short term and embrace the long term economic benefits that may result from hosting the Olympics. If managed effectively, the Olympics could assist with boosting
staff morale and improving performance and productivity."
To discuss how we can provide further advice in connection with these issues, please contact Alison Loveday, Managing Partner and Head of our Employment team, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively you can call Alison on
0161 833 9211.