'Over 50% of employers changing work practices for Olympics'

'Over 50% of employers changing work practices for Olympics'

More than half of employers are making changes to their working practices during the Olympics to enable staff to work more flexibly or enable them to watch key events at work, new data released today by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows.

Early data from the annual CIPD/Hays Resourcing and Talent Planning survey finds many employers are planning to allow greater flexibility for staff so they can avoid potential transport disruption.

Almost three in 10 employers say they will try and accommodate requests from employees to work from home, 17% will extend flexible working opportunities, while 13% will actively encourage staff to work from home.

The survey findings are released as the CIPD launches new guidance on Sporting events and absence management which highlights the range of options employers can consider to minimise disruption to the business and help employees make the most of the Olympics and other sporting events such as the European Football Championships.

Rebecca Clake, Research Adviser at CIPD, said: "There are a range of options available to employers to enable them to balance the requirements of the business with the interests and needs of employees.

"Options such as flexi-time and home working can enable employees in parts of the country likely to face travel disruption as a result of the Olympics to spend their time working rather than stuck in traffic jams or adding to the pressure likely to be faced by our public transport system.

"Of course, some employers, for example, those providing public transport, will face additional demands during the Olympics and will have to manage their workforces carefully to ensure there are sufficient staff to deliver services. Our survey shows 35% of public sector employers are planning to restrict leave during the Olympics to cope with this challenge.

"The key for employers is to plan ahead, set out clearly what the organisation's approach is and the rationale behind this and then apply it consistently."

The CIPD research found that many employers are also making preparations to allow staff to watch key events in the workplace. Almost a third (31%) of employers will make TVs available in the workplace and 11% will allow employees to view events online on their work computer.

Barney Ely, Director at Hays Human Resources, says: "The Olympics is a golden opportunity for UK businesses to review their flexible working policies to ensure they are supporting their staff. Communication is key to ensure both parties clearly understand and adhere to the guidelines around flexible working. By embracing this exciting time companies will benefit from more engaged employees."

Clarke adds: "Many employers are making provisions to enable employees to watch key events in the workplace, recognising that the Olympics is an opportunity to build morale and employee engagement.

"Again the key is for employers to communicate very clearly what their policy is, for example, whether employees are allowed to keep track of games online or whether they take a zero-tolerance approach.

"Just as importantly, employers should remind staff of the organisation's policy on absence and misuse of alcohol, making clear that it is unacceptable to take time off sick, either to watch matches/events or to recover from the aftermath of long evenings in the pub in front of a big screen. It is of course also unacceptable to turn up to work so hung over that you are incapable of doing any work. Employers should make clear there are disciplinary consequences for taking unauthorised time off without good reason or not performing or misbehaving at work."

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