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More than a fifth of employees will take unauthorised Olympics absence, finds YouGov poll

HR Editorial , 02 May 2012

Olympic Stadium

UK organisations are struggling to cope with Olympics staffing challenges, as many employees (21%) are willing to take unauthorised time off to watch high profile events, according to a YouGov survey, sponsored by SunGuard Availability Services.

The poll of more than 2,000 people found only 22% of workers think their organisation is prepared for disruption brought about by the Olympic Games and only 9% have received communication on flexible working policies for this time.

With almost a third (31%) of employees expecting holiday packages, new technology devices and flexible working hours to be introduced to their working life, organisations will likely be stretched and in a state of flux as it is - without counting the potential cost of employee absenteeism.

"Now is the time for UK companies to act," advises Keith Tilley, UK&I managing director and executive vice president for Europe, SunGard Availability Services. "Keeping workers content is the number one priority to encourage productivity and ensure business continues as usual. It's a hugely exciting time, and there's no reason employees have to abandon ship to enjoy it. Simple actions such as installing communal TVs, and allowing employees time to view high profile events will help ensure businesses remain productive without damaging office morale and may even boost it. Today's technologies mean companies have more resources at their disposal than ever before to keep things going, so there's no need for staff or the business to miss out."

However putting these plans in place is only half the battle, Tilley continues: "Communication is the key factor in planning for any disruption. Outlining expectations and educating staff on continuity plans will lay the essential groundwork for continued productivity during the Games, and offers a chance to fine tune working practices for future planned and unplanned incidents."

The research was carried out separately by Vanson Bourne and YouGov. Vanson Bourne interviewed 250 Directors in senior level operational, IT and HR roles amongst organisations with 250-1,000 employees in the UKYouGov Plc. interviewed 2082 adults of which 1306 were working. Fieldwork was undertaken between 25th - 27th January 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

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Planning for the Olympics

Carolharte1 07 May 2012

I agree that planning for the Olympics is important and a great opportunity for employers to use it as a tool for enhanced performance. For those companies who can afford it, the odd tv placed around the building will not do any harm and watching the events can be good cost- effective team building exercises. Allowing staff time to watch chosen events on the tv's, agreed with Managers, may go some way to reducing absenteeism.

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