Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Working in London During the Olympics?

Spain won the Euro's, Wimbledon is well under way, and the lights will soon go out on the F1 British GP; all indicators that the sporting timeline moves ever closer to the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games, on July 27th.

Many of us will be looking forward to the sporting spectacle. However, even the biggest Games fan may have some concern around how their daily work life will be effected during the Olympics (running 27/07/12 - 12/08/12) and Paralympics (running 29/08/12 - 09/09/12).

First, some London Olympic stats:
  • 10,500 athletes will compete
  • 8.8 million tickets have been issued
  • an estimated 4 billion viewers will tune in, worldwide 
  • 800,000 people will use London public transport on the busiest day, with 20million extra trips being made during the games

The huge numbers of spectators descending on London will clearly have a significant impact on the daily lives of London workers. To help you prepare, here are 5 basic tips:

1. Consider your mode of transport

Car or Bus
Your route may be affected by the Olympic Route Network (ORN)this is a network of temporary routes for athletes and officials to ensure they can get to their event on time. Familiarize yourself with the ORN and plan ahead to avoid any disruption or delay to your journey.

The underground network will see a major increase in the numbers of travelers on a daily basis. Consider whether your journey can be adapted using minor lines, or walking to avoid major interchange stations.

If you are within reasonable cycling distance, this may make your journey easier during the busy periods. If you do not have your own bike, then a cost effective option would be to use the 'Barclay's Cycle Hire' service. 

Flights in and out
Heathrow has been announced as the 'Olympic Host Airport' and it is expected that the airport will welcome almost 80% of spectators, athletes, officials, sponsors and media. Keep in mind that the traffic in and out of Heathrow will be heightened throughout the Olympics, with the day after the closing ceremony (Monday 13th Aug) expected to be the airport's busiest day ever. 

2. If you must use the underground, try to avoid 'travel hot spots'. 

There will be a number of busy areas, particularly around major interchange stations.  The main hot spots will be:
  • The West End
  • Westminster
  • Bank
  • The Southbank, from Waterloo to London Bridge
  • Canary Wharf
  • Stratford and Canning Town
  • Liverpool Street
  • Kings Cross St. Pancras

Where possible, consider alighting a stop early and walking to the next station, or choosing a different mode of transport all together.

3. Utilise flexible working or working from home?

It may be that the easiest way to minimize the impact of the games is to adjust your working hours. Typically, flexible working hours run from starting time of 6am - 10.30am through to finishing times of 2.45pm - 7.15pm. 

Depending on your particular project or function, you may also be able to avoid disruption through working from home. In this case, you must consider your home working environment to ensure you are safe and suitably supported with equipment and facilities. 

In both of these scenarios, approval is required from your Line Manager, who would have the final decision on working patterns of this nature. Please ensure you get approval in advance - without this you may not get paid for the day's work. 

4. Become virtual

If you are planning a trip to London during the Olympics, or regularly travel around London between offices, it would be a good idea to consider online/virtual tools to enable you to conduct meetings without leaving the office. You may consider basic tools from conference calling through to video conferencing via MS Live Meeting. Contact your IT support team to understand more about these applications. 

5. Finally, take care

Remember to take extra care during the Olympic period. 
  • Be careful when getting on and of public transport and avoid running as you may trip and fall
  • Keep your bags zipped and closed
  • Keep high value items such as phones or MP3 players out of site
  • Avoid keeping your wallet or other valuables in your back pocket 
  • Report any suspicious behavior to the authorities

This is a rare and exciting opportunity to enjoy arguably the largest sporting event in the world. Plan ahead and consider all your options to make the Olympics an enjoyable and stress free period. 

For full London Olympic Games schedule and information, visit www.london2012.com


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