40% of businesses 'have yet to prepare for the Olympics'

Businesses need to get off the starting block when it comes to getting ready for London 2012, says a survey - or they'll be left behind.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 17 Feb 2012
Whatever you think about the Olympics, there’s no question that the Games will create a certain amount of disruption, particularly to businesses based in the capital. With certain roads and tube lines being used exclusively to ferry athletes, officials and spectators to and from the Olympic site, businesses have already been warned that they may need to take special measures to keep things running smoothly during the Games. And now a survey has found that 22% of businesses reckon they’ll have fewer staff on hand – whether that’s because they’re off watching Usain Bolt sprint to glory, or they just couldn’t squeeze onto that Central Line train.

The survey, by IT company (and ‘Official Infrastructure Provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games’, no less) Cisco, found that while 29% admit that they’re going to have to put some serious thought into how transport delays will affect their staff’s daily commute, just 59% said they’ve put the necessary measures in place. Which sounds like plenty – but when you consider that 41% of businesses have yet to get ready for what could shape up to be significant disruption, that’s a bit of a worry.

It’s no secret that London 2012 isn’t universally beloved to businesses, as indicated by the reaction to comments from transport minister Norman Baker, who suggested businesses should ‘oil up the creaking bike, dig out the walking boots, work out how to use the video conferencing equipment, and fire up the laptop gathering dust at the back of the cupboard’.

But the good news is that a third of businesses think the Olympics will ‘generally have a positive effect’ on small businesses in the UK. Businesses added that the event will increase the number of tourists (thus increasing the number of customers) and (crucially for Londoners tired of creaking tube lines), improve the infrastructure and road networks. So even when the athletes have left, businesses should benefit from the trains running on time. Well, hopefully…

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