Travel disruptions during Olympics top concern for HR: Survey

B.C. firms prepare for Olympics with flexible hours and telecommuting

Human resources practitioners in British Columbia are very concerned about the effect of the 2010 Olympics on employees' commute to work and are increasing flexible work options to offset those disruptions, according to a survey by the province's HR association.

The British Columbia Human Resources Management Association's survey of 282 organizations across the province found 80 per cent of organizations will be introducing or increasing their use of flexible hours, while 70 per cent will be introducing or increasing their use of telecommuting to mitigate the effect of the Olympics on transportation.

The survey found just nine per cent of respondents have approved and communicated their policies to deal with the Olympics while 48 per cent are in the information gathering or planning stages.

Nearly one-third (30 per cent) of respondents believe the impact the Games on revenue and productivity will be negative or very negative while 22 per cent believe it will be positive or very positive. The remaining 48 per cent believe there will be little impact.

Organizations in the hospitality, retail and tourism industries, which expect to benefit from the Games, foresee some issues around recruitment and staffing during the Olympics. Respondents also believe school closures, the distraction of the events and increased absenteeism will impact their business.

The survey found the single biggest benefit being provided to employees during the Games is access to a television, while only eight per cent of organizations are increasing the amount of paid time off.

However, additional organizations are also considering allowing people to bank overtime to be taken during the Games or providing alternative places of work for staff during the Games.

In general, most organizations (40 per cent) expect to be impacted for the two weeks of the main Winter Olympic Games, however those who are within one kilometre of an Olympic venue expect to be disrupted for the six- to 10-week period that encompasses the Olympic and Paralympic Games as well as all the pre- and post-event activities.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded here.

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