May 10 - With the London 2012 Olympic Games just a few months away some companies are taking extreme measures to ensure their staff don't get caught up in the travel chaos that threatens to disrupt journeys to and from work. Hayley Platt reports.
Having a lie down at work isn't something many companies tolerate. But data services firm Interxion actively encourages it. It's installing sleeping pods to provide staff with a crash pad should they have problems getting to or from work. Interxion is based in London and the prospect of transport chaos during the Olympics prompted the investment in the emergency sleeping quarters. Richard Warner is Interxion's marketing manager. SOUNDBITE: Richard Warner, UK Marketing Manager, Interxion, saying (English): "Due to the nature of our business we need to make sure our customers computers are running all the time 24/7 for example if there was congestion on the lines and an engineer couldn't get in then their computers could go down and we just cannot allow that to happen." SOUNDBITE: Kyle Byott, engineer at Interxion, saying (English) "It's a great idea if I'm stuck at work, which hopefully I won't be, but if I am stuck at work it means I'll have somewhere to stay for the time being." Interxion isn't the only firm taking the prospect of disruption during the Olympics seriously. The customer services offices at O2 were entirely empty recently. The mobile phone firm was practising for the Olympics. It's not based in London but many of its staff are and it's asking its customer services staff to work from home during the Games. SOUNDBITE: Ben Dowd, Business Director, O2, saying (English): "We are effectively sending 2,500 staff home from our headquarters here in Slough and they're going to work from home or from a coffee shop or wherever they want just on their Smartphone to do their job for the day." Transport chiefs are predicting long queues at at least 20 of the capital's Tube stations during the Games. And employment expert Tom Flanagan of law firm Irwin Mitchell says many firms aren't taking the situation seriously enough. SOUNDBITE: Tom Flanagan, National head of Employment, Irwin Mitchell "It's going to be quite difficult to run your business in an ordinary way during what's a relatively short period of some disruption, so people should think of putting in place some sort of policy even if at the moment you think you don't need to because you've got good employee practices and you can always manage absences. This is something quite different. It will be on a scale that most businesses have never met before." The full extent of the problem won't be known until the Games gets underway in July. But Interxion has made sure it's not caught napping when it comes to ensuring business as usual. Hayley Platt, Reuters.