Getting your business Olympics-fit

Martin Hayward explains how businesses should prepare for the infrastructure challenges posed by the Olympics.

With more than 3.3 million extra journeys expected to be made on the busiest competition day, the impact of the London Olympics is going to be felt by businesses throughout the capital and beyond.

Increased threats of terrorism, transport complications and security risks are likely to pose threats to businesses throughout the duration of the games.

With this potential for major disruption DTZ recommends that every business should create and implement a Major Incident Management Plan (MIM) to ensure there is a suitable course of action to protect against potential disruption.

Businesses need to think ahead and assess the potential impact of the games. For example, any businesses encouraging employees to work from home should consider the wide-ranging implications for HR, IT and health and safety that need to be assessed and examined. Of course, the option of working from home does not fit with organisations in which businesses are completely reliant on staff being in a particular location to ensure that their business can function. The service industry will be one of the most affected sectors during the games.

A MIM plan needs to assess:

1. Building users’ access in and out of the building and their means of escape in an emergency, assembly points, crowds, manning of buildings and security
2. The difficulties employees may encounter whilst working from home: IT implications, communicating with clients and other colleagues
3. The disruption staff using the busiest stations will face, experiencing nearly 30 days of continuous disruption at the hottest time of the year, the increased length of journeys and rising stress levels associated with this
4. The journeys of clients, contractors, deliveries and Emergency Services Response teams. Businesses that rely on critical deliveries to sustain them and manage demand form customers may experience disruption as suppliers are likely to struggle to reach destinations within agreed timescales.
5. Communication: keeping abreast of non-competitive Olympic functions, being aware of key events throughout the games and understanding/communicating the location of events throughout the organisation.

Once the plan is developed the findings and procedures should be communicated to everyone who is likely to be impacted by it including employees, clients, tenants, members of the public, sub-contractors, and contractors of tenants.

The key to this will be nominating an ‘Olympic champion’ who will stay abreast of the communication around the Olympics, monitoring various sources of information about transport and security and feed this back into the plan as well as to the stakeholders.

It is imperative that businesses have a clear plan that is communicated throughout their organisation ahead of the Olympics. With a Major Incident Management Plan companies are well-prepared for every eventuality.

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