Channel avoids Olympic chaos

The Olympic chaos, widely predicted to bring most of Sydney to a screeching halt over the Games period, has thus far failed to eventuate. While many IT employees have taken leave over the Olympic period, others are still hard at it, catching updates via a TV in the corner or over the Internet.

However, working during the Olympic Games may not be all that bad after all. Reports from throughout the channel confirm neck-ties have been loosened, work times have been tweaked, and most are finding time to catch the results through the TV or online.

IT services company Getronics hit on a novel plan to bring the Olympics out to its Belrose office. The company divided the employees into teams and ran their own Olympics, complete with opening ceremony and medals.

Getronics communications director Sue Gleave told ARN the company Olympics was originally the idea of Vickie Sansome, the managing director's personal assistant. As well as the sporting events, which included gumboot throwing and egg-and-spoon races, each department was provided with a budget to decorate the office according to a certain theme.

"The help desk team actually rigged up a boxing ring in the office," Gleave said. "Everyone has become involved, and the competition became quite competitive. It has been a great boost for morale - and we will have a closing ceremony at the end."

Right in the thick of it, the marketing manager of distributor Beyond Computers Australia, Maim Bolkovsky, is reporting that business is almost normal.

"A few of our staff are on holiday, and there are a few more buses on the road, but we're mostly operating as normal," Bolkovsky said.

Although Beyond Computer's offices are located right in the heart of Homebush, Bolkovsky said that he had not had any problems with traffic, and the office routine had barely been disrupted by the company's proximity to the games.

"It is actually taking less time to get to work in the morning. There is less traffic because we need special passes to get to our offices," he said.

Marketing communications specialist at Acer, Stella Gasparovic, is not so lucky. She told ARN that a trip which used to take her 25 minutes now takes up to an hour.

"It is taking about twice as long to get to work in the mornings, but it is really exciting being in the thick of it all," Gasparovic said.

Located right beside the Olympic site, Acer's Sydney plant has been busily planning for the Olympic period well in advance. Due to their location, Acer employees have to pass through security checks as they approach the office in the mornings.

"Our hours have changed so that we don't coincide with the traffic peaks, and we are being provided with breakfast and lunch because it is difficult to get out and about," she said.

To keep up morale, Acer has also loosened its dress codes and is allowing employees to take a break to watch events.

Charles Lattuca, general manager at ERP vendor Open Text, told ARN the company has been relying fairly heavily on its own ERP system during the Olympics.

"We are trying to work as normally as possible. We already have a fairly extensive VPN so we can offer employees the opportunity to work from home, and many of our senior staff have the opportunity to do so," Lattuca said.

Open Text is also taking advantage of a slightly quieter market to conduct training seminars.