City firms need to be prepared for the Olympics


WITH London 2012 less than a year away, companies around the capital need to prepare for the impact the Games will have on their business. The good news is that the City is leading the way in business preparedness. According to research from London 2012 and Transport for London, there are 71 firms in the banking and finance sector signed up for free travel advice, representing over 185,000 employees. For law and management consultancy, too, advice is already being sought on behalf of some 60,000 employees in total.

According to Lynn Rattigan, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Ernst and Young, the professional services firm has a designated committee addressing the issue. Rattigan says: “Like many London based offices, the biggest issues we will face is the impact the Games will have on public transport and how this could potentially impact commute times for our people into our London offices and the internal services we would be able to provide.” She adds, “To ensure our people are able to enjoy all of the excitement of the games and client commitments permitting, we will actively encourage a number of our staff to take leave during the games, work flexibly or work from home.”

Paul Taylor, chief operating officer for KPMG’s Risk and Compliance practice, says that they are trying to anticipate “what level of service our clients require during this challenging period, many of whom will also be impacted by the Games.” He too, sees the need to address commuting and flexible working, with options including “working from home or from regional offices outside of London, or changing shift patterns to avoid the peak periods on public transport.”

There is plenty of advice available for businesses to help them prepare. Rattigan says: “We have found the Olympics website a very useful source of information. We have also reached out to our external business contacts to ensure we are sharing best practice and that our suppliers have adequate plans in place.” Taylor adds, “the Olympic Delivery Authority provided useful information on the potential effect on the tube, train and road network as well as information on the Games programme. KPMG also participates in a forum attended by a range of businesses, with representatives mostly with facilities, continuity and security responsibility.”

If your business has yet to get on board, there is still time, but with less than a year to go, now is the moment to consider what steps it will need to take to be fit for 2012.