Managing Staffing Levels During the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012


There is likely to be a significant impact on staff attending work during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Many staff may wish to take time off for leave to attend or watch events or to work as a volunteer. There are also likely to be significant delays for staff attending work due to extra pressures on public transport.

London 2012 has advised that it would like businesses to encourage at least 30% less staff to use public transport to accommodate the large numbers of visitors. As a major public institution in London, UCL should endeavour to support this request through managers facilitating request from staff to work flexibility during the period, wherever possible.


The Games are during a period (Olympics: 27 July - 12 Aug, Paralympics: 29 Aug - 9 Sept) when many staff normally take annual leave. Deans, Vice-Provosts and Heads of Departments are encouraged to start thinking at the earliest opportunity about which staff will be required to be on site for essential work and what alternative arrangements could be put in place on a temporary basis to minimise the strain for other staff.

Options and considerations

UCL's Work Life Balance policy outlines a variety of ways in which staff can undertake flexible working. Managers are encouraged to consider these various options and to use these on a temporary basis wherever possible.

Key considerations for managers are:

  • What essential work needs to be covered?
  • Which staff will be likely to take leave during this period?
  • Is there a possibility of temporary job swaps or other cover arrangements to allow as many people to take leave as would like, without compromising services?
  • Could resources be shared across departments?
  • Could staff work from home? What additional facilities (e.g. laptops) might be required to accommodate this? Do people have sufficient remote access? See the Working remotely web pages for details. Section 4.14 of the Work Life Balance policy outlines considerations for people working from home, e.g. telephone usage, insurance, security and management of work.
  • Would a local variation to working hours help staff avoid the worst of peak travel?
  • Could staff work compressed hours (e.g. 36.5 hours over four days) to reduce their travel?
  • Could staff have variable start and end times to stagger cover arrangements?
  • Do staff have to travel in London during the day for meetings? Could these be done through web or video conferencing or other similar facilities?
  • Who might be visiting our premises during this period (students, job applicants, research partners)? What information do they need about accessing premises? Could any of these meetings be delivered other than face to face or at alternative out of central London premises?
  • If there is a large demand for video conferencing facilities, how will these be booked / prioritised?

Other solutions may work for some departments and these should be given due consideration. Ultimately, it is the manager’s decision as to what is feasible, bearing in mind service delivery requirements and the requests of different staff.

For advice on managing flexible working requests please contact your HR Consultant.

Page last modified on 18 jun 12 16:20