Summer 2014 is fast approaching and, for many, this means one thing: World Cup fever! Like or loathe football, Brazil 2014 is set to take centre stage between 12th June and 13th July, and with the celebrations in Brazil come the inevitable ‘World Cup hangovers’ on this side of the Atlantic.
Year-on-year, statistics show a rise in employee leave and sick days during major sporting events. Combine this with tired eyes and delicate heads after late nights watching the games and employers are faced with the potential for reduced employee presence and productivity.
There are, however, steps employers can take to minimise disruption during the World Cup and preparation should begin as early as possible.
Firstly decide what your business can cope with. Employers can gain a huge amount of goodwill by being flexible and by understanding that many employees want to be a part of the action. It is worth asking your employees for their annual leave preferences well in advance; this gives you an opportunity to accommodate requests and plan around absences.
Employers can also consider offering their employees flexible working hours, with late starts or early finishes and split-shifts where fixtures fall during working hours. Perhaps consider setting up an ‘event’ room, where employees can watch matches together in their leisure time; this could also be an opportunity to improve internal networking and morale.
Be clear about your company policies. In particular, employees should be reminded about unauthorised absences, sick leave, improper use of the internet and being in a fit and proper state during working hours.
It is important to have procedures in place, such as back to work interviews, to help deter employees from taking time off for spurious reasons.
If disciplinary action is warranted, follow a fair procedure in accordance with your company policy and ACAS guidance and carry out an appropriate and even-handed investigation. It is important not to pre-judge, even when it seems initially obvious that absence or poor performance is related to late nights and heavy drinking.
And finally: Be careful not to inadvertently discriminate against particular members of your workforce. For example ensure that non-English employees are afforded the same level of flexibility you offer to your other staff for when their teams are playing.
With the above in mind you should be well placed to enjoy the World Cup as much as your employees, hopefully leaving feigned injuries to the players on the pitch rather than your valued workforce! Visit FIFA for information and match times.
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