95% will assess impact of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, although 53% are yet to start; 55% of companies believe their preparations are on track; unavailability of staff is now the biggest concern for businesses.
UK business is waking up to London 2012 opportunities and challenges – but still has work...
The number of large UK businesses that have assessed the impact of London 2012 on their operations has dramatically increased, according to the latest ‘Games Readiness’ research from business advisory firm Deloitte. 42% of the companies surveyed have already examined the opportunities and challenges facing their businesses as a result of the Games. Just 15% of companies had done so when we asked this question last summer. A further 53% of companies plan to carry out an assessment in time for the Games but have yet to start, while just 5% of companies surveyed believe there is no need for such an assessment, compared with 56% in 2010.
55% of companies believe their preparations for London 2012 are on track but a significant 38% acknowledge they are behind where they need to be.
Heather Hancock, lead London 2012 partner at Deloitte, said: “UK businesses are waking up to the fact that if they want to capitalise on any business boost from the Games, as well as minimise disruption to their company, they need to prepare and be ready. With a little over a year to go, it is encouraging to find so many companies are taking the Games seriously.
“However, there is much work to be done, and it is a concern that over half of large UK businesses have yet to formally assess the impact the Games could have on their operations. London 2012 is an immovable deadline and these companies must recognise that time is starting to run out.”
In addition to greater awareness of the need to prepare for London 2012, businesses are also showing a better understanding of the potential challenges they could face during Games time. 37% of companies are worried about the risk of a security incident, compared with 5.5% last year, whilst 26% are concerned by a potential lack of resources such as hotels (7% last year). 18% fear disruption to their supply chain (8% last year) and just 3% of businesses expect no disruption at all, a significant decrease on the 39% of businesses who felt this way just 12 months ago.
Julian Rae, Director at Deloitte in Cambridge, said: “Reality has hit home for UK businesses and they are now more aware of the potential for disruption during the six weeks of competition. That companies are more concerned by these issues is good news, not bad, because it means they can prepare. It is positive that 39% of our respondents intend to review their crisis response plans, although we think this figure should be higher. Businesses should also consider engaging with suppliers to shore up supply chains and create alternative and contingency plans where required. Ultimately, these actions will help companies to mitigate, or at least minimise, disruption.
“It is interesting to note that just over a third of companies fear transport disruption, a similar level to last year when it was the biggest worry of UK business. This was the only category of risk which didn’t see a sharp increase in the number of companies concerned. The organisers and transport authorities will be pleased to see that the high profile communications around this issue appear to have been effective but will need to consider the lessons for communicating to businesses around other potential risk issues.”
The issue causing greatest concern to business is the potential unavailability of staff. 43% of companies cite this as a major concern ahead of the Games, compared with 23% when asked last year. Transport disruption is one possible cause of staff unavailability and businesses should use the Games as an opportunity to review and implement alternate site, flexible and home working practices where feasible. This would be hugely beneficial to strengthening the long-term resilience of organisations, providing a legacy benefit from the Games, as well as helping reduce the strain on London’s transport system.
Another possible cause is large numbers of staff taking holiday during the Games period. 21% of the senior executives who took part in our survey personally plan to take some time off work during the Games period. On average, they intend to take 7.5 days as holiday. Surprisingly, executives from tourism, hospitality and leisure companies (29%) are most likely to be planning to take holiday, whilst just 16% of retailers will be taking time away during the Games.
Rae added: “A picture is emerging of a business community that has increased its level of understanding about the impact of the Games, but for many there remains much to be done to be ready. It is imperative that businesses quickly develop an accurate picture, covering all potential impact areas. This will enable them to establish appropriate planning assumptions, review policies and plans against these, organise to deliver the required programme of work and ultimately to test their preparedness.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "The 2012 Games are set to deliver much more than just a summer of sport for London. As the international focus turns towards the capital we have this once in a lifetime chance to show the world why London is the number one place on the planet to do business. As this survey shows, meticulous and early planning is key to getting the most out of the Games and I'd urge every business, big and small, to act now and get ready for London 2012."
The Deloitte Cambridge office comprises 8 Partners and over 250 staff who deliver a full range of professional services to the East Anglian region. As well as focussing on the life sciences and technology sectors for which the region has become so renowned, the office has long standing specialisms in other sectors including the professions, consumer business, food and agribusiness.