Impact on businesses during 2012 is just dawning

I've just attended one of the first free 2012 travel workshops for businesses.

Transport for London (TfL) has to persuade businesses to change their working practices to get the amount of "normal" commuters down to make space for Olympic spectators.

Otherwise, there will be severe delays and the system simply will not cope.

If you are a business this is what you have to do:

  • Reduce - get more staff to work from home
  • Re-time - get staff in early or late
  • Re-route - don't go via main stations
  • Re-mode - consider walking and cycling or buses etc

The businesses at the workshop were small and medium-sized ones from across the capital and they are those that are actively seeking more information on the disruption next summer.

These are professional people who are used to challenges but I did get the distinct impression that some of them are frustrated at the lack of detail from Transport for London.

Get thinking

Specifically, there were worries about overnight deliveries and if they will be able to make them, worries over whether the boroughs will lift restrictions, and concerns about how late public transport will run.

It seems the Tube will run 05:00 BST to 02:00 BST, over 20 hours a day, although that hasn't been proposed to the unions yet.

There was also concern about the cost implications of homeworking.

The advisers on the course admitted they don't have all the answers - and it seemed to be as much about creating a dialogue for future announcements and getting businesses thinking as anything else.

Some of the businesses were very positive about 2012 and had actually used the Olympics as a catalyst to becoming more efficient.

Nonetheless, TfL has a big challenge ahead to get more businesses on board.

What strikes me is there are thousands of businesses out there that haven't even considered the impact the Olympics will have on them. Reaching them could be tough.

If you are a business and you want to find out more, the London 2012 website has more information.

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