By Marcus Leach

Now that the Olympic organisers have confirmed the first round of successful ticket applications, the thrill of knowing they will be part of this unique sporting occasion will for many individuals be tempered by concerns over whether they will be allowed the time off to get to events during the working day.

This also presents a major headache for employers. Small businesses in particular will be concerned as to how they are going to manage the anticipated increase in absenteeism, as well as an avalanche of early holiday requests from 24 June, the date when people will know which events they have successfully bid for.

“There will have to be a lot of flexibility on both sides,” says Andrew Millard, senior director, marketing, EMEA, Citrix Online, “as firms look to create a schedule which allows employees to see the events of their choice as far as possible, at the same time ensuring that the business does not suffer through a lack of key staff.

“The good news is that SMEs looking to maintain business as usual throughout this critical three-week period now have access to affordable web conferencing and remote access tools. These will enable staff to work from home — or another location away from the office — and remain fully operational, with no loss of productivity.”

A recent survey from Citrix Online found that, though almost one third of SMEs were confident that they could cope with disruptions, twice as many still lack any continuity plan to combat any interruption to their business.

“These don’t have to be unplanned events, such as the heavy snowfalls or the ash cloud experienced last year,” Millard points out. “Planning a full year ahead to cope with extra demands for time off work is equally critical and, if handled effectively, can minimise the impact on the business. At the same time, the greater flexibility which remote collaboration offers will allow employers to support those staff who are keen to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Put simply, location is no longer a barrier to effectiveness.”

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