Employers 'should consider flexible working for Olympics'
Workplace experts Acas have issued advice for employers in the London area on how to minimise the disruption to their business expected from this summer's Olympics.
Acas says that for many thousands of workers the disruption will mean finding alternative routes into work - arranging to work from home, or for longer-distance commuters agreeing with their employer that they work at one of its offices outside of London during the Games.
It advises that employers need to ensure they plan ahead of the Games and consider more flexible working arrangements to minimise potential disruption, manage staff expectations and ensure business runs smoothly.
John Taylor, Acas Chief Executive, said: "By planning ahead employers will avoid problems later on. Your business operations could potentially look quite different during the Games as employers adapt their policies and procedures."
For firms based in the capital this might mean having a skeleton staff in the office while others temporarily work from home, says Acas. Business owners with more than one site around the country might consider temporarily relocating staff to another site if possible. Employers could also consider working round problems by temporarily altering the working hours to avoid peak congestion times, it suggests.
Mr Taylor added: "Employers may want to take a more flexible approach to matters such as working hours and location during the Games. Simply making small but significant adjustments will mean a happier and more productive workforce this summer."
Problems getting into London during the Games are only one aspect employers should plan for this summer, says Acas. With the games being held during the summer holidays, employers will be anticipating more requests than usual for time off, it says. This could be for holiday requests away from the Games.
Staff may also be attending the Games or wanting to watch TV or internet coverage. Some might be volunteers.
Additionally some people will have no plans to take time off during the Games, says Acas. Employers need to demonstrate that policies have been applied consistently and fairly.
Acas practical advice on requests for managing absence and introducing flexible working arrangements to varying contracts and understanding the legal rights of volunteers can be found at: www.acas.org.uk/olympics.