Jul 30, 2012

Business productivity during the games

Managing staff to achieve their goals.

The Olympics is finally here with potential contributions of £16.5 billion (according to a report by Oxford Economics commissioned by Lloyds Banking Group) from the games on UK’s GDP, it has certainly come at a good time for the UK economy as a whole. However the downside of it is the impact on businesses and more specifically on employee productivity. Productivity may be affected by absenteeism, number of holiday requests, lateness and an increase in internet usage during work hours. Employers also have to consider any impact of corporate hospitality during this time on the Bribery Act 2010.

To mitigate the impact of Olympics on their business, employers must communicate effectively with all their staff. While offering flexible working may be an option for some employers, other employers may not be able to adopt flexible approach due to the nature of their business. Employers must remember to always treat their staff in a consistent manner and apply their internal policies and procedures fairly.


There may be an increased level of staff absenteeism during the period of the games, either through sickness or failing to turn up for work. Any staff absence must be dealt with in accordance with the company’s internal policies. It must be investigated and where no procedure has been followed, must be treated as unauthorised absence. Employers may find it beneficial to prevent such absence by communicating expectations early on.


Employers must be reasonable and fair in the way lateness issues are dealt with. For example, employers may want to offer flexible start and finish times so as to allow staff extra time to travel to and from work. Lateness issues should be dealt with through the company’s internal policy. It must be investigated and where the lateness issue is not genuine, dealt with through the company’s disciplinary procedure.

Holiday Requests 

Employers may find a large proportion of their workforce requesting holidays during the games. The company’s existing holiday procedure must clarify how requests are approved, for example, if they are on a ‘first come first served’ basis. 

Corporate hospitality 

The Bribery Act 2010 which came into force in July 2011 created a new offence under section 7 which can be committed by commercial organisations if they fail to prevent persons associated with them from bribing another person on their behalf. To mitigate the risk of liability for offence under the Bribery Act, 2010, employers must not only have clear procedures in place, but also communicate these procedures clearly to all staff and representatives of the company. Employers must remind their staff and representatives about their Anti-Bribery policy, expense policy and policy for corporate gifts and hospitality.

To read our report of the Bribery Act 2010, click here.

Internet Usage 

Staff internet usage and use of mobile phones during work hours and while staff are at work must be treated in accordance to the company’s internal policies. While the employer may decide to adopt a more flexible approach temporarily, this must be clarified with all staff. Any employee seen to be abusing the policy must be dealt with through the company’s disciplinary procedures. Where it is seen to have affected performance, it must be dealt with through the company’s performance management policy.

According to the report by Oxford Economics, the Olympics has offered around 78000 jobs across sectors, reintegrating thousands of unemployed people. While the games will cause some level of disruption, especially to small employers, putting proactive measures in place will reduce the impact it will have on employee productivity.