By Renato Bottini, Three

Have you got London 2012 tune-out yet?

With London 2012 coming up in just a few months everything in the business media seems to be London-related at the moment; so if you’re not London-based, it’s easy to ignore the many ways the Games can cause problems for your business. A big mistake, particularly when flexible working is such a simple and effective solution.

For a start, the Games and its potential impact spread far beyond London. With 65 locations spread across the UK from Glasgow to Weymouth, there’s going to be a great deal of extra strain across the nation — more traffic congestion, increased visitor numbers, supply chain issues, and heavier demands on existing data infrastructure — all of which is going to take a lot of businesses by surprise. UK research reveals 87% of businesses believe they will experience some form of disruption during the Games, yet around one in five are still not planning to do anything about it.

There’s no excuse for the Games taking UK business by surprise. The Olympic circus comes to a nation every two years, so there’s plenty of experience to draw on. Take the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games; research shows that better-prepared businesses enjoy bigger benefits from the Olympics.

The easiest way to prepare for this summer is to look at how you use flexible working. This is one of the biggest lessons from Vancouver 2010: in hindsight, 30% of Vancouver-area businesses would have improved their flexible working facilities; and of those who did prepare by introducing flexible working, a third felt they were continuing to benefit from these flexible working arrangements long after the Olympics had moved on.

Flexible working simply means making sure your people have the equipment to access all your office systems wherever they are — working from home, on the move, at a customer’s premises or based in a temporary location. No need to fight to get to the office and switching to mobile broadband offers a reliable alternative to standard communication networks, giving you everything you need to make the most of the opportunities London 2012 will bring.

Just as the Olympic organisers are holding trial events, businesses like yours are trying out their plans for the summer right now, shutting offices for a day to really find out how prepared they are for flexible working contingencies.

Being the Olympic host country is a once in a lifetime business opportunity: start preparing today by finding out how ready your systems are to support remote working.

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