Let the games begin - but make sure you’re ready!

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This summer has seen an enormous amount of sporting activity - Euro2012 Football and Wimbledon have been enthralling, the Tour de France was sensational

And the Olympics/Paralympics will dominate July and August.

Being seen as the sort of company that helps staff enjoy such important events is really positive and motivational. But just like England, and Team GB, you’ll need the right management to get the right results.

Get your game plan right by addressing these key issues. They’ll be vital for 2012.

1. Holiday requests

How will the big events relate to your organisation’s holiday year?

Can individuals bring forward holiday from the next year if they wish?

If your organisation operates flexitime/TOIL systems do they need to be incorporated into time-off requests for this period?

Should you set a deadline?

It could help enormously with planning if anyone requesting holiday absence during the Euro2012/Olympics/Paralympics periods had to submit their application for time off by the end of June.

But how do you sort out your application approval? Should it befFirst-come first-served, or ‘name out of the hat’?

And while it’s fantastic if employees have immediate family members who are participating in the Games, how will you manage them as special priority cases?

Are you going to allow one day holiday absences, or more?

Will multiple requests be considered? For example some fans may want to watch the heats and a final of an event.

2. Sickness Absences

Consider all sickness absences during this period being phoned through to a named senior manager and confirmed in writing.

If someone has requested holiday to attend one of the sporting events and you are not able to approve it, how will you manage the situation if they phone in sick that morning?

The crucial aspect here is reducing risks of claims against your organisation. Follow your procedures and be thorough without prejudgement. It might be prudent to remind everyone that work email and social media accounts can and will be reviewed as part of any investigations into absences, especially those which may result in disciplinary action.

3. IT Capability

Will you amend your IT systems to enable events to be watched online? And can your systems cope if you do?

Similarly would your systems support requests for home working? It could be an ideal solution, but would anyone doing it be using their own or you organisation’s equipment? What issues does that raise for system accessibility and security/firewalls?

4. Travel

If your business operates in areas close to an Olympic venue, be prepared for some travel disruption for employees, customers and suppliers.

5. Flexible Working

Think about allowing some element of flexible working patterns during these key sporting periods.

The reality is that people will want to engage with these historic events. Helping staff to enjoy them can only be good for morale and productivity. But there are significant issues to be addressed. Properly managed they can make this summer a very special period for everybody.

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