You would need to have been hiding under a rock not to know that the Olympics will shortly be arriving in London. With record levels of tourism and trade expected, you would imagine that this would present numerous opportunities to the capital’s thousands of businesses, yet whether this influx is actually beneficial for London’s typical business is up for debate. In fact, a recent CBI report showed that only a quarter of companies in London expected to benefit from the Olympics.
With London’s infrastructure set to be put under immense strain, failing or over-burdened transport links are prompting some businesses to take certain adaptive measures. For example, employees may need to work from home or outside normal office hours to avoid the expected delays. Remote working may be appropriate for some companies, but without the proper tools in place to access all pillars of the business in real time, some may struggle to operate to the standard that their customers have come to expect.
With just a couple of weeks to go until the games start, many companies throughout the city are still wrestling with these issues and the detrimental effects they may have on their businesses. A recent CBI report, surveying 250 London companies, showed that half of employers (50%) intend to let their employees work from home during the Games and 57% will adapt their working hours, while 46% of firms say they will allow employees to have time off to attend events.
Mark Naysmith, Games readiness director at Deloitte, has commented on this very issue: “On the busiest days of London 2012, there are expected to be an extra three million journeys a day on the public transport system. It is essential that companies across the city, large and small, have thought through how their business and their people will cope with this period. Whilst working from home is the most popular measure being tested, it will not be practical for all businesses that still need to maintain client service levels.”
This logistical nightmare is by no means a necessary evil, however. Businesses that have in place fully integrated cloud systems, such as NetSuite, can have peace of mind—whether they can get into the office or not, they can access their systems.
Take the Super Yacht Group, a publishing and media company focused on the super yacht industry based in Clapham, as a prime example. Despite having its HQ in London, SYG can rest easy that all staff have real-time access to in-depth business analytics anywhere in the world, so they can keep their fingers on the pulse and react quickly to any issues that arise, no matter whether key team players are travelling or can’t get into the office.
Pedro Muller, Strategy Director at SYG, says: “It’s particularly important that our sales team can access their data at all times, including when they are on the road. With NetSuite, the entire team can access sales information on their iPhones, iPads and laptops, which has proven to be invaluable to the business, as it doesn’t matter if an employee is in the office or not.”
Businesses around the world facing similar events or challenges should learn from the experiences of London. Perhaps businesses in Rio de Janeiro would be wise to start preparing now for the 2016 Olympics, so they can be sure to avoid the headaches that businesses may face this time round.