Local Employers Anticipate RNC Will Bring Challenges, Plan for “Business as (Mostly) Usual"

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After a full year of preparation, anticipation, and speculation, the big day (well, week really) is almost here for Cleveland. On the morning of Monday, July 18 employers and employees across the region will embark on their first official workday during the 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC).

Most news stories of late have focused on the uncertainty that businesses within the “Hard Security” zone are facing, but these anecdotal accounts are only part of the larger picture in terms of the impact that area employers are anticipating on their operations and on their employees.

To help fill in the rest of the story for the Northeast Ohio business community at large, ERC asked organizations to participate in a brief poll focusing on two major areas: (1) What changes to usual work arrangements are employers implementing for employees during the RNC? and (2) How significant of an impact are employers anticipating the RNC will have on basic daily work related activities?

Mostly Business As Usual

What we found is that on the whole, the majority of organizations (61%) are planning to go about business as usual next week. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most variation in work arrangements can be seen among those organizations that are immediately adjacent to the downtown security zones.

For example, 48% of the organizations in our survey located within a 1-mile radius of the official “Event” zone are offering most/some employees the option to work from home during the RNC. In contrast, 17% of organizations outside of this 1-mile radius are providing employees with this option.

Minimizing Travel through Downtown

However, even among those outside of the immediate downtown area, employers are clearly attempting to minimize travel through or into downtown, with several organizations indicating they would not be asking their east side employees to commute to the west side (or vice versa) and still others opting not to schedule work meetings in the downtown area during the week of the RNC. Of course, depending on the type of industry that your organization is in, these types of limitations may not be an option.

For example, participating organizations in the hospitality industry are, understandably, increasing, not decreasing the hours and demands on their staff to accommodate the expected demand for RNC crowds.

Although the methods that employers are using to adjust their work arrangements for the week of the Convention are varied and largely dependent on location and industry, there appears to be more agreement around the level of anticipated impact that the RNC will have on basic day-to-day work related activities.

In general, the vast majority of employers anticipate that their employees will be impacted (in many cases a great deal) in their ability to accomplish one or more work related activity the week of July 18-22.

Activities that will be impacted

The top three work related activities that participating organizations anticipate will be impacted by the RNC are:

  • Parking
  • Eating lunch or other meals outside the office
  • Sending/receiving delivers/mail.

A number of other activities were also reported, mostly involving restrictions on travel to/from clients or meetings. The only organizations that did not indicate their employees would likely be impacted in their daily work activities are significantly removed geographically from the downtown area, i.e. Mentor, Strongsville, Hudson, etc.

The good news is, employers are clearly aware of the potential impact and at the very least understand that employees are likely to face challenges in their workday.

However, while this survey data does illuminate additional expectations and concerns among Northeast Ohio employers across the region, exactly what impact the RNC will have on business operations (and as a result on the region’s workforce) is largely yet to be seen.

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