Prepare yourself for the Paralympic Games too

Q&A: London 2012 TIME TO GET READY

Q. MY BUSINESS IS CURRENTLY PREPARING FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES. I KNOW THE PARALYMPIC GAMES ARE BEING HELD A COUPLE OF WEEKS AFTER THE OLYMPIC GAMES. WHAT IMPACT WILL THEY HAVE ON MY BUSINESS?

A. The Paralympic Games start approximately two weeks after the Olympic Games and run from 29 August to 9 September 2012, for two weeks. While the Paralympic Games are smaller than the Olympic Games, it is still the second largest sporting event in the world with up to 145,000 spectators attending on a peak day.

The Paralympic Games will take place in early September when employees and schools return from their summer holidays. During the Games, the transport network will be much busier than usual and businesses in Games hotspots (areas which will be severely affected during the Games) will be seriously impacted. The Paralympic Route Network (PRN) will open a couple of days before the Paralympics next summer and will run through key areas of central London. This is a network of roads linking all the competition and key non-competition venues, enabling athletes and officials to easily travel between venues and accommodation. Confirmed Para-lympic venues include ExCeL in Docklands, the Olympic Park, The Mall and Greenwich Park. If you are a business located on the Olympic Route Network (ORN) or PRN, you will need to plan ahead now.

Recent research from BT, analy-sing the impact of the Vancouver 2012 Winter Olympics on local businesses, found a strong correlation between organisations that spent longer preparing for the Games and those that saw the greatest benefit. To avoid unnecessary delays and to maximise the opportunities the Games will bring, there are a number of ways companies can prepare.

As with the Olympic Games, businesses should work with their employees as early as possible, as their journeys to and from work will be affected. Look at non-essential travel and whether employees can work from home or in different offices outside of hotspots. If flexible working is an option, make sure the technology to enable this is put in place well before next summer. If travel is essential, any visitors or employees should be encouraged to avoid travelling during spectator peak times and should think about alternative ways to travel to work, such as by bike, bus or on foot.

Businesses are advised to think about deliveries during the Paralympic Games as well. Many firms are planning to stockpile non-perishable goods and are rearranging deliveries to come outside of spectator peak times. They should work with their suppliers to come up with a solution.

For more advice, please visit the London 2012 Travel Advice for Business website (www.london2012/traveladvice forbusiness). It offers a wealth of information and businesses can sign up for regular updates to help prepare for the Games.