By Daniel Hunter

AXA Business Insurance is urging businesses to get in shape for the Olympics and is advising its customers with 10 top tips to help them take advantage of Britain’s most exciting summer in a generation.

The Olympics will provide the UK with a much-needed boost to the economy and businesses need to prepare themselves for the opportunities and risks they will bring.

The additional visitors and general buzz in the UK will be coupled with added strain on transport, extra demand for services, and supply issues which could mean a headache for business owners if they don’t think ahead. For example, many small businesses will be ordering in and storing much more stock to avoid these supply issues.

“With the Olympics not far away, it makes sense for businesses to think about what impact they will have on the day-to-day running of their business," Gerry Donnachie, Head of Underwriting at AXA Business Insurance, said.

"Will they have to take on more staff to cope? Will they need to start stockpiling products? Will employees be able to get to work on time? These are all issues that, if dealt with now, could help businesses enjoy a head start on competitors and a very profitable few weeks during the biggest event of the year.”

Top 10 tips for getting your business in shape for the Olympics:

1. Stock delivery is especially important for retailers and food outlets. It could become really difficult to receive or make deliveries as roads get busier and time restrictions are put in place by the authorities with vehicles being used needing to be registered with the police in advance. Businesses who make regular trips to suppliers such as cash and carry outlets will need to be particularly organized and may therefore need to consider stockpiling (if not perishable). If planning ahead means storing more stock, make sure you call your insurer to advise them otherwise you’re effectively under insured and may not be covered fully if you need to make a claim.

2. Similarly, if you need to make alternative storage arrangements during the games, let your insurer know and make sure the security of any additional premises is suitable.

3. Review your building security. Due to the number of visitors in the country and the amount of traffic on the roads, Police response to your alarm may be delayed, so make sure your premises are as secure as possible. Carry out a review of locks, alarms and shutters to make sure all are in good working order and add additional security measures where possible. It might also be worth considering who in the business will respond to your intruder alarm if it activates; how quickly can they be at the premises?

4. Review your business continuity plan. If the games mean that staff may not be able to get to work it may be worth considering whether they can work remotely or can you make accommodation arrangements. Look at how much cover you have for business interruption. If you are expecting business and profits to increase over the Olympics (or if you think the opposite may happen), then you might want to consider adjusting the amount of cover you have up or down to reflect this.

5. Some companies may relocate in July and August to avoid problems like getting in to work or delivery issues. It’s really important to keep your insurer up-to-date with changes to your routine that may mean your premises will be empty during that time. You could make your cover invalid if you don’t keep them in the loop. Similarly some businesses may find it necessary to occupy their premises for longer hours to manage processes such as deliveries and transport issues and as a result they may wish to continue trading past normal opening hours. Additional consideration may also need to be given to processes such as banking.

6. If you do arrange for employees to work from home, will their equipment be covered for loss or damage. Do you need to consider the insurance cover on items such as laptops at home and when travelling.

7. Travel will definitely be disrupted, so it’s worth making contingency plans. Consider teleconferencing so employees can work from home, or if they make alternative travel arrangements, such as cycling to work, ensure there is secure storage, changing areas and cover for bikes.

8. Remember to advise your insurers if you will be employing more staff, as those in the retail or the restaurant trades are likely to.

9. Taking on temporary staff at short notice can pose a security risk. Ensure your training programme is robust, and that training is in place before the Olympics start. If you leave it too late, you’re running the risk of an increase in health and safety issues.

10. Review your premises and equipment now. If you have any maintenance needs, it is worth addressing them now before a real problem arises; it may be hard to have repair work carried out during this busy period.

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