By Marcus Leach
The Olympics is ten days away, not long when you consider athletes have already started arriving on our shores, and London has an air of anticipation for what is the greatest show on earth.
However, not everyone will be seeing it like that, least of all the huge number of businesses that will be severely affected by the disruption that will ensue from the millions of people swarming to London to be a part of history. That said, if businesses plan, or have planned, there is a huge amount of revenue to be made from the Games.
In a joint statement Peter Hendy, London’s Transport Commissioner and Sara Parker, CBI London Director, have outlined the impact, both positive and negative, to London and its businesses.
With less than two weeks to go until the London 2012 Games, the greatest event London has held in generations, the excitement is palpable. London has started its transformation into a massive sporting and cultural venue, and will shortly start to welcome athletes, officials and the world’s media in very large numbers.
As well as the sport, there will be business and economic opportunities from the Games too, with Visa projecting an extra £750 million consumer spend during the seven week Games period. To take advantage of this opportunity, London’s firms must make sure they plan ahead.
According to recent CBI research, 92 per cent of businesses think the Games will boost London's international profile, 80 per cent think they will improve tourism and 76 per cent think they will have a positive impact on regeneration for some of London's most deprived boroughs.
But the survey also revealed that a number of businesses in the capital are still considering the impact of such a large influx of visitors on their day to day operations. On transport in particular, a significant number of firms are still thinking through the implications for them and their staff.
London 2012 and TfL have provided free travel advice to business programmes to companies operating in areas of London and the rest of the UK that will be affected by the Games. Five hundred major businesses employing more than 600,000 people have shared travel plans with TfL, and around 24,000 other businesses across London and other areas of the UK have attended TfL arranged or supported workshops.
If you’re not one of those who already has a plan, no matter how much or how little you have done to prepare, there is still time. The website www.GetAheadoftheGames.com has everything you need to know to plan for the impact that the Olympic and Paralympic Games will have on your business. It has detailed information on how the road network will be affected on each day, a station by station, hour by hour guide to the Tube and even a personal journey planner so you can view a map of the road network centred around your postcode to see how your journey will be affected.
You or your employees may decide to commute at an earlier or later time to avoid pinch points along your route, or work from home, or from another office location. You may choose to get into the Olympic spirit and get onto a bicycle, or walk part of your commute. You may check the website and work out that there’s absolutely no need to change your journey at all.
You’ll also need to think about how temporary road restrictions and congestion could affect making or receiving deliveries. It may be that delivering out of hours would be a better option during the Games, or just allowing extra time for journeys could be enough to ensure your business continues to run smoothly.
What we do know from the companies we have spoken to, is that businesses feel much more confident about Games-time once they have made and tested their plans. With less than two weeks to go it’s the last chance for all businesses to get prepared. We are often asked for our three top tips for business continuity during this summer’s events; they are 1. plan 2. plan 3. plan.
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