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Businesses – and their employees – offered London 2012 Games travel advice live on Twitter

· Transport for London, Unilever and Sagicor at Lloyd’s come together to give travel advice to businesses via a live Get Ahead of the Games Twitter chat

· To participate, follow #GAOTG from 13:00-14:00 BST on Thursday 21 June 2012

After the success of the first Twitter chat for businesses last month, Transport for London (TfL) will be hosting a second live Twitter chat this week, and is calling for businesses and commuters to join in to learn more about how they can Get Ahead of the Games.

TfL will be joined by experts from Unilever and Sagicor at Lloyd’s, who will answer questions to help Britain’s employers and commuters plan their transport ahead of the London 2012 Games.

Ben Plowden, Director of Planning at TfL Surface Transport; Jacobina Plummer, Global Change and Communications Manager, Agile Working for Unilever; and Paul Marden, Marketing, Communications and CSR officer at Sagicor at Lloyd’s (an insurance syndicate operating in Lloyd’s of London insurance market) will be available between 13:00-14:00 BST on Thursday 21 June 2012 on Twitter.

Unilever and Sagicor are well-placed to answer questions having already developed best practice Games-time travel plans to suit their businesses. Their plans include offering flexible or home working options and encouraging employees to use alternative forms of transport, such as cycling or walking all or part of their commute.

The chat will be hosted by the official London 2012/TfL Get Ahead of the Games transport advice twitter feed @GAOTG, using the hashtag #GAOTG. Questions for the panel can be submitted to @GAOTG beforehand, using the hashtag #GAOTG.

Firms – and their employees – can ask questions to help them maximise the business benefits of the Games, and to plan ahead for an exceptionally busy transport network. Potential topics for the live chat include:

How businesses are planning ahead to minimise the travel impact of the Games on operations;

· Ways to communicate plans to employees and stakeholders;

· Advice on alternative forms of transport, such as cycling or walking to work

Key hotspots that commuters will need to avoid;
Tools and information needed about road events and how to plan journeys;
· Challenges experienced to date with travel planning and how to overcome them;

· How to test travel plans;

· Sending and receiving deliveries during Games time;

· Legacy: How to continue with any travel plans put in place after the Games.

Businesses affected by the Games can follow #GAOTG on Twitter from 13:00-14:00 BST on Thursday 21 June 2012.

Ben Plowden, Director of Planning at TfL Surface Transport, said: "After the success of the first ever Olympic Twitter chat for businesses, we’re engaging with businesses once again, as well as tweeting directly to commuters. By teaming up with influential organisations already planning ahead for Games-time, this Twitter chat offers a direct channel for firms and London commuters to speak to other companies and workers as well as to TfL.

"During the Games, London will be turned into a massive sporting and cultural venue. As a result central London, the ORN and areas around venues will be exceptionally busy. This is why we’re communicating with businesses to help them avoid delay and disruption and ensure they have all the advice and support they need to plan ahead."

Jacobina Plummer, Global Change and Communications Manager, Agile Working for Unilever, said: "Like many companies, business continuity will be critical for Unilever during the Games. Our approach to planning for Games-time is to raise employee awareness around the impact on the transport network, and the range of solutions to overcome this. Key to Unilever’s Games-time plan is our approach to flexible working, which is ingrained in our business and available to all employees. As a result, 92% of our London-based employees said they felt confident working away from the office during the Olympics. While it’s taken us years to foster that culture, via Twitter I can share our experiences and some tips with other companies looking for last minute quick wins to help get ready for the Games."

Paul Marden, Marketing, Communications and CSR officer, Sagicor at Lloyd’s, said: "We are taking planning very seriously as we’re based in City of London, a key hotspot area. We have five staff managing different aspects of the planning from HR to IT and we’re communicating all plans to employees in ‘lunch and learn’ sessions. Non-essential employees are being encouraged to work from home, while essential staff, like those trading at Lloyd’s, are encouraged to walk or cycle into work. To make this as easy as possible, we’re allowing ‘dress down’ during Games-time and looking to install bike storage. We’ve been planning since October last year and I’ll draw on our experiences to answer questions during the live chat."

London 2012 and TfL have provided free travel advice to business programmes to companies operating in areas of London and the rest of the UK that will be affected by the Games. Five hundred major businesses employing more than 600,000 people have signed up for specific travel advice and have drafted travel plans which they have shared with TfL, and 24,000 businesses across London and other affected areas of the UK have attended TfL arranged or supported workshops.

Businesses are encouraged to use the support available at www.GetAheadoftheGames.com to prepare and test in advance of the Games.

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