As I write this blog I am reliably informed that we are 80 days from the Opening Ceremony. This is only half the story though, we are actually 10 days from the start of the Olympic Torch Relay which will go through every major Town and City in Scotland including Orkney, Shetland and the Isle of Lewis, over 1000 communities across the UK, and the flame will come within 10 miles of 95% of the UK population. There will almost certainly be disruption as a result of the relay (although possibly less than when the Torch passes through Northern Ireland on the Queen's Jubilee!). It is worth checking the Olympics site to see when it will be near your locations:
OK, so there's a bit of a run going through my town, but that's about it isn't it? Well no, there is a football game or 8 happening in Glasgow. The Olympic football tournament is bigger than the World Cup and there will be disruptions, the Olympic Route Network (ORN) will be in opertion in any City hosting the Games, i.e. there will be lanes that will be purely reserved for Official Olympic traffic.
OK, so there is the run and a few games of football, but that won't really affect me, will it? Possibly, but this is the biggest sporting event in the year, it is highly likely that your staff will want to see certain events. Is it worth planning for this in advance? Are there communal areas where a TV can be put up for certain events, possibly lead to happier staff and a reduced likliehood of "sickness". Are you looking to understand annual leave levels at the moment, or is this done closer to the time? It is worth checking that we have enough staff to carry on critical activities.
OK, apart from all that, its really just a London issue isn't it? Well apart from the torch relay all over the UK, football games in Manchester, Coventry, Newcastle, Glasgow and Cardiff and sailing in Weymouth it is.... but what about your suppliers? Where are they based? Do you have London based suppliers who may be impacted during the Games? Do your suppliers have suppliers who may be impacted during the Games? There are questions that need to be asked, to just make sure we are in the right place during the games.
Anyone who has been in Edinburgh or Glasgow Airport first thing in the morning knows how many people travel to London on a weekly basis. Many firms will look to reduce this during the games and utilise other communications methods, such as Telephone or Video Conferencing. With the massive increase in data usage that will be seen during the Games have you spoken to your conferecing provider to gain assurances that they will be able to continue to provide you with the service you require? And what about staff who "need" to continue travelling to London, have you factored in hotel rooms at 4x current prices (if you can get a room at all), or the travel disruption once they get there (an extra 750,000 people travelling every day on an already overcrowded underground?
OK, so football gams and the ORN, the Torch Relay, possible staff absence and cost and travel disruption for anyone travelling to London, I guess we will be impacted, is there anything else I should be aware of? It is probably worth bearing in mind that in 2 years time the Commonwealth Games will be coming to Glasgow. A smaller scale than the Olympics but still likely to lead to a great deal of disruption in the City. Ideally there will be some important "lessons learned" coming out of the Olympics but a large number of folk currently working on the Games will rapidly disperse to their next assignment as soon as the Games finishes so it would be better not to wait for the end of the Games to commence planning for the Commonwealth Games.