Prudent business owners and their human resources representatives, both in London itself and elsewhere throughout the UK, are already anticipating the potential workplace disruption that the Olympic Games might cause and putting plans in place to deal even-handedly with their staff. Some businesses might be relatively unaffected during the Games period. Yet many, particularly those businesses based in areas where competitions are actually due to be held, are concerned about high quantities of staff requests for leave, lateness due to increased pressure on public transport and roads and unauthorised staff absences.

Businesses that already have cohesive company policies in place are better equipped than those that do not to deal consistently with requests for time off during the Games, by staff who may be involved on a voluntary basis, or those that simply want to watch the spectacle on the television. Company policies often specify recommended notice periods for the submission of leave requests. However, business owners and human resources personnel might consider specific communication with their staff regarding a deadline for Olympic leave requests, which should be dealt with on a first come first served basis to avoid accusations of unfair discrimination.

Businesses that are particularly concerned about accessibility and delays might want to think about the introduction of flexible working hours during the period of unprecedented disruption. They may offer staff the opportunity to make up for time lost due to the impossibility of getting to the workplace at their usual starting time. Working from home or an alternative location might be another option in some cases, depending on the nature of the business, although employers should consider any potential health and safety implications before making decisions.

At NorthgateArinso, we have time served expertise in the fields of employment law and human resources that thousands of our clients are finding invaluable when pre-planning for business continuity during the Olympic Games.

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