What do you think when you see something like this in the papers? That a disaster is heading your way? Something like Hurricane Irene?
If so, you’d be wrong… When The Economist used the sentence on 27 August, it wasn’t talking about an approaching storm, but about a success due to hit the UK, and on an epic scale: next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.
To cope with the flood of visitors expected in London, Transport for London (TfL) says ‘business as usual’ levels of travel will have to be reduced by roughly a third.
Concerned about its members’ ability to get trucks to high streets, the Freight Transport Association has suggested shops and restaurants stockpile key supplies.
And if anything should go wrong during the Games, you could be in for a longer wait than usual. Electricians, plumbers and others are more likely to get stuck in jams.
At BT, we are confident in our ability to support both the Games (as Communications Services Partner, we’re providing communications networks and services for London 2012) and all our regular customers. We’ve been planning for the big event for three years now. In London, we’re working with ClearWay 2012 to keep our need to work in the roads to an absolute minimum.
We’ll be working with customers to schedule installations and other planned work either side of the Games.
So what are you doing?
Are your plans in place?
If not, perhaps they should be.
A survey of businesses operating in and around Vancouver – the city that hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics – found it took them an average of 18 months to get everything they thought they would need for the Games in place. Even so, 23 per cent experienced shortages of network capacity as a result of surges in demand from employees and/or customers, 16 per cent wished their firms had increased the capacity of their contact centres in the run up to the Games and 30 per cent said their firms should have done more to improve the flexible working facilities available to staff.
And just in case you think the threat of disruption is in some way being exaggerated, consider the following. In Vancouver:
- 28 per cent of organisations experienced higher levels of absenteeism than usual
- 42 per cent experienced higher volumes of calls
- One respondent said it had found it far harder than expected to keep its ATMs in the city stocked with that most basic of commodities – cash.
The lesson? As Baden Powell, the founder of the scouting movement, would have said: be prepared.
The time to get ready is now.