Are you really prepared for the London Olympics 2012?

The summer of 2012 will see London host the Olympic Games for the third time in history.

The London Summer Olympics have been the ‘talk of the town’ since 2005, when it was announced London would host the 2012 Olympics.

The nation of Great Britain has been trawled with a fine tooth comb to find the best amongst the best of athletes to represent their country in live events, giving opportunity to rising athletes, educating and inspiring the young population of Great Britain with new and undiscovered role models and sports.

With all this great opportunity for Great Britain comes a high level of risk from all different angles. As a nation, our defence guards should be in full swing, from, policing to MI5, airports to taxi ranks, one security guard to six, we need to up our game. We need to identify where risks are at their highest, and where they rank in terms of classification of risk.

Industries can classify risks in multiple ways: financial security, computer security, information security, data security etc, they are endless but you won’t have to treat them with the same level of protection or anticipation.

So how exactly will the Olympics affect your organisation?

Consider these factors: staff, travel, event planning, public transport, weather, network overload, terrorist attacks…these are some direct risks to your organisation related to the London Olympics 2012.

You need to have in place all the relevant policies and procedures necessary to deal with staff absenteeism. You need to make your staff are aware of the policy for taking holiday for the Olympics (like a first come first serve basis, or no holidays to be taken…) or throwing a sickie to watch events (doctors notes will be needed as evidence of sickness – depending on normal business practice for this), or through a lack of volunteers to work, resulting in staff shortages. Man your stations! You will have to consider that some members of staff will not agree with your policies or procedure, which can lead to the rebirth of striking.

Good News! – You still have time to put these policies in place and establish a few ground rules before the Games commence.

Depending on where you’re based, travel disruption may be at an unusually high level on event days due to the high volume of tourism hitting our cities and national interest. This will affect travel to work with congestion, accidents and a higher demand for the use of public transport. The result of this will cause employees to miss meetings, cause lateness, and a high level of demand for flexitime claims. The Olympics does not expect Great Britain’s organisations to break down and underachieve on their objectives, but the Olympics won’t care if organisations do. There’s no good looking at your accounts at the end of the year justifying a lull with ‘Oh yeah – but that was when the Olympics was happening’. Businesses have to carry on as normal as possible to achieve higher than the average business working days.

Some businesses expect a high profit turnover, but the gap between the average business working day and achieving a high profit is so far and few between that it’s unreliable to bank on.

 Organisations that would generally benefit from the Olympics are often small, family and locally run businesses with low overheads – also depending on location, location, location. It’s in this type of organisation that you will find a low level of risks and a high impact on its future development. Bed and Breakfasts will be at full capacity and communicating to customers will be critical, i.e. a must would be a policy set up months in advance for bookings taken around the planned events that payment must be made in full for room bookings. Failing to do this could mean that you are at risk of no-shows, losing payment and the ability to advertise the room as available.

Critical to every organisations day to day business is IT and Mobile phone networks. These can easily be overloaded through external demand and internal usage. Marketing emails, sales calls and invoicing, product distributions and customer services all in this day and age pass through network systems. Therefore these networks need to have enough bandwidth to deal with the high volume of activity being filtered through them.

And one final risk for thought is terrorist attacks. I am sure you don’t need me to remind you, but I am going to…

London based businesses need to be highly aware of this huge risk for safety reasons primarily. It is not forgotten, nor is it neglected by the Olympic Committee. It is a nagging demon and fear that underlies all the concerns surrounding the Olympic Games. Don’t be naive and think that just because you are a small organisation or company that you will be ignored; it can be from something as small as a computer hacker getting into your systems and passwords and replicating your stored data. Alternatively you could be the largest, multinational, billion pound annual turnover company in any large city with staff numbers in the thousands under a physical threat – none of us want to find out. Put precautionary  plans in place and prepare for the worst case scenario. This is not a light hearted suggestion; it is very much a serious and urgent suggestion that you have the correct policies, procedures and defences in place to cope with this and protect yourself and your organisation. This is a national risk, and the opportune moment is soon to arrive in the summer of 2012.

So, let’s hope you have put precautions in place and protected your assets to your best capabilities, so much so you couldn’t bring the defences down even if you wanted to. Great – that’s a permanent solution!

If you haven’t just brainstorm and think about the above, and how would you deal with any of it?

At the very least, do you have a Business Continuity Plan put into place?

A BCP is probably the best precaution you could take towards potential risks (in an ideal world risk would be non-existent and we would live alongside each other in harmony, but it is that ideology that is non-existent, so instead we have risk). With a BCP you are attempting to cover the statistic that is risk = disaster. With a BCP you are navigating your organisations day to day business around the impact from a risk, mitigating the effect on normal business by having a plan. It is easy and simple to construct, you just need to communicate the ideas.

Top management need to be aware that when risks are high on an average working day-to-day basis, they are going to be boiling at the surface during national events let alone the biggest GLOBAL event every four years –

Welcome to Great Britain, Olympic Games of 2012!

Let me put it this way, it’s not just an opportunity to benefit out of associated activities (i.e. tourism), but it is also an opportunity for those with an ulterior motive. This needs, desperately, to be taken into consideration.

As a business owner, CEO, CIO or senior manager you should be checking yourself that the correct policies, procedures and plans are put into place, it is your responsibility and in your best interest to protect your organisation. Start today and put your own BCP in place – take control before it gets out of hand.

This new Olympics 2012 Continuity & Security – Policy & Checklist Tool will allow you to start preparing your organisation today so that you and your staff can enjoy the Games without any unnecessary problems. This Olympics 2012 Continuity & Security, Policy & Checklist Tool will save you more than time and money over this period of time, but also an opportunity to manage your organisation from a slightly different angle to usual state of play.