Technology can increase flexibility during Games

Q&A: London 2012 TIME TO GET READY

Q. OUR EMPLOYEES RELY HEAVILY ON FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS IN OUR OFFICE . HOW CAN WE MANAGE THIS WITHOUT LOSING BUSINESS?

A. During the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the transport network will be much busier than normal. This will have a big impact on employees and clients, particularly when they are travelling to and from work. Businesses that have a lot of meetings should start planning now to minimise disruption and ensure their business continues to run smoothly in the run up, and during, the Games.

It is essential that you understand your employees’ travel behaviour first, before thinking about solutions. Complete a free survey to understand how your employees currently travel, via: www.london2012.com/travel adviceforbusiness.

You can then start thinking about solutions. As a business that conducts a lot of meetings, there are a variety of ways to manage this without losing business. If meetings are 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. If meetings are not essential and can be rearranged, think about flexible and remote working, as this is a viable option for many organisations and will allow employees to reduce non-essential staff travel during the Games.

Another option is to conduct meetings via web or audio conferencing, which is one of the most convenient ways for employees to stay in touch with colleagues while working from home. Audio conferencing allows you to set up a call whenever you need one with one or more people in different locations. Web conferencing works by sending out a meeting link to participants. Once they click on the link and join a session you can transmit anything from your PC screen to them. Recent research by BT shows that with the right flexible working environment, employees can be at least 20 per cent more productive, so it is worth considering this solution for your business.

Businesses of all sizes are implementing home working technology to provide employees with the flexibility they require during the Games. Baddeley Brother is a family run business that manufactures stationery. With 25 staff based in Hackney, the business is planning to benefit from the Games and is currently working with its workforce to ensure the business is prepared well ahead of next summer. While half of its employees manage machinery and are therefore required on-site, other employees are able to work remotely. The company is currently implementing home working capabilities for its employees who are able to work from home.

Using technology and deciding whether meetings are essential during the Games will provide employees and customers with the flexibility they require during the Games and beyond. Businesses should work with their employees and clients as early as possible, as their journeys to and from work will be affected.

If you are in an affected area and require additional support, free workshops are available to small and medium businesses with less than 200 employees in one location. To register your interest email, keeponrunning@London2012.com.