What will be the impact of the Olympics on work?

11 March 2012
What will be the impact of the Olympics on work?

The Olympic and Paralympic games are set to take place this Summer. We've taken the pick of current information to help your organisation prepare.

When are the Olympics and Paralympics?
The torch relay takes place from 21- 26 July 2012. The Olympics runs from 27 July – 12 August 2012. The Paralympics is from 29 August – 9 September 2012.

How will travel be affected?
The main sporting venues are in London, Cardiff, Weymouth & Portland, Coventry, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Windsor & Eton, Chesthunt & Waltham Cross and Sevenoaks.

Areas close to the games are expected to be heavily congested during the events. Transport and key interchanges are also anticipated to be much busier than usual. LOCOG explains what the impact will be across the country.

Get Ahead of the Games has a travel map so you can see how your journey will be affected. Find out the impact on your travel

The LOCOG website also has maps of the affected areas.

What travel plans should employers make for the Games?
LOCOG is advising businesses and their staff to avoid non-essential journeys during the Games – and to consider how they can reduce their need to travel. Your organisation could:


  • Vary staff working hours temporarily for the Games to avoid peak travel
  • Encourage alternative travel including car-sharing, cycling or walking
  • Encourage staff to re-plan their route to work
  • Consider home-working and staff relocation arrangements, where available.

The LOCOG website has an online planner to help your organisation to put effective travel plans in place. Use the business travel planner now

Time off for the Games
Annual leave, unpaid leave and volunteering leave can be agreed in line with existing organisational policies, for example, on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

It may be helpful for organisations to consider the minimum staffing levels it needs to maintain in each function through the Games. Leave may be refused where it would have a particularly adverse impact on the business. It is important to apply decisions fairly, consistently and clearly.

Problems arising from the Games

Unauthorised absence

If annual leave is not agreed and an employee takes time off work, this is likely to count as unauthorised absence and may fall within your disciplinary policy.

Arrangements on watching the Games in work-time can be clarified with staff in advance. Where these arrangements are not followed, this may become a performance issue. However organisations may find it helpful to accommodate significant sporting events, to avoid unnecessary problems.

For more information, see the Get Ahead of the Games, Acas and LOCOG websites.

Also see, the annual leave, volunteering and disciplinary sections of HRBird.

Please note that HRBird by its very nature offers general information. If you're looking for advice specific to your situation, speak to an HR professional or solicitor. Got a question on staff or volunteers? To submit an anonymous query for the HRBird blog, contact us.

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