By Daniel Hunter

UK organisations are struggling to cope with Olympics staffing challenges, as many employees (21%) are willing to take unauthorised time off to watch high profile events. Even the risk of being caught is not a deterrence, and UK bosses admit that almost a third of skivers are likely to go unpunished.

Research sponsored by SunGard Availability Services, the pioneer and leading provider of Information Availability and business continuity services, reveals only 22% of workers think their organisation is prepared for disruption brought about by the Olympic Games and only 9% have received communication on flexible working policies for this time.

With almost a third (31%) of employees expecting holiday packages, new technology devices and flexible working hours to be introduced to their working life, organisations will likely be stretched and in a state of flux as it is — without counting the potential cost of employee absenteeism.

“Now is the time for UK companies to act,” advises Keith Tilley, UK&I managing director and executive vice president for Europe, SunGard Availability Services.

“Keeping workers content is the number one priority to encourage productivity and ensure business continues as usual. It’s a hugely exciting time, and there’s no reason employees have to abandon ship to enjoy it. Simple actions such as installing communal TVs, and allowing employees time to view high profile events will help ensure businesses remain productive without damaging office morale and may even boost it.

"Today’s technologies mean companies have more resources at their disposal than ever before to keep things going, so there’s no need for staff or the business to miss out.”

However putting these plans in place is only half the battle.

“Communication is the key factor in planning for any disruption," Tilley continued.

"Outlining expectations and educating staff on continuity plans will lay the essential groundwork for continued productivity during the Games, and offers a chance to fine tune working practices for future planned and unplanned incidents.”

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