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Careful forward planning key to making the most of Olympics year

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many businesses, but employers need to plan effectively to ensure that things run smoothly. Acas is offering tailored training to help you tackle some of the workplace challenges of Olympics year.

Particular challenges posed by the Olympics include managing leave and unauthorised absence, and allowing employees time off to volunteer for Olympic-related events. You might also require additional staff to meet increased demand, or to cover staff absence. Many workplaces will also see an increase in internet and social media use, which will need careful management to avoid impacting on the bottom line. There is also likely to be significant traffic and public transport disruption in London during the Games, affecting commuters and suppliers alike.

Good communication with staff in the lead-up to the Olympics is key to reaching workable solutions and avoiding misunderstandings which could lead to disputes later on. In particular, employers need to make staff aware of company rules on areas such as paid and unpaid leave, unauthorised absence and volunteering. Fair and equal treatment of employees when dealing with leave requests is also going to be of paramount importance. A greater degree of flexible and remote working for the period of the Games could help keep staff productive while easing problems for commuters. And if you don't already have one in place, now might be the time to introduce a policy on internet and social media use to guard against any drop in productivity.

Acas is helping employers to manage staff expectations and minimise any adverse impact of the Games on their business. Acas offers training on managing through the Olympics, in addition to courses on absence management, flexible working and performance management.

Visit the Acas training and business solutions area for more information.

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