World Cup – workpace headache or opportunity? Some ideas on how to manage the coming working weeks…

I JUST wanted to add my 10 pence worth of guidance to help through this years World Cup (can you tell from my tone I’m not the greatest football fan in the world!?). Now I appreciate initially England games are evening kickoffs, which may only affect shift workers, but just in case you have other nationalities wanting to watch here are some thoughts and considerations to help.

With stats stating between 2.5 and 3 million working days being lost as a result of this global event we cant ignore it (try as I might). So a few bullet points below

Consider a Flexible Approach

  • Consider allowing shift swaps, short notice holidays or flexible working arrangements where they can make up their hours. Can you rota people to take turns?

What are Your Outfit & Behaviour Expectations

  • Will you allow football shirts in customer facing roles?
  • Also you may need to remind your staff of any rules about being under the influence of drink or drugs at work?
  • It is also worth reminding them what they can and can’t do on social media! Racist chants or slurs could be classed as gross misconduct

Think of it as an Opportunity to treat staff

  • Have you thought of treating this as an employee incentive? Given them an extra couple of hours off if they do x, y or z?

Ensure Equal Treatment

  • Make sure you treat all requests for time off etc fairly and equally so you don’t fall foul of any of the ‘Protected Characteristics’ of race, sex (a man can have the time but you refuse a woman) or age (letting a younger man have the time to go to the pub with his footie team, but not an older man have time to go play golf) to give just a couple of (extreme) examples

Is Betting OK

  • Will you allow sweepstakes, what are your rules about cash handling on site?

Absence policy

  • Do your staff know what your policy is? Do they know to call in sick and by when, and the consequences if they do so? You should tell them that absences during World Cup will be closely monitored and any employee found to have flouted the rules could face disciplinary action. Manage it carefully.

Live games

  • Will you allow streaming through the computers, radios to be blaring out or even provide TVs in work areas? Or will you consider blocking internet access or access to certain websites for relevant periods?  Your choice but think about it now and set the expectations and consider any health and safety implications
  • You could nominating an individual to periodically check on the scores and inform colleagues of any significant developments.
  • If you consider placing a TV in the staff room to allow staff to watch the games during designated break times ensure you have the necessary TV licence in place  and consider the risk that staff may take extended or unauthorised breaks to keep up-to-date with the action.

Last but not least

  • Enjoy!

At least most matches are after ‘normal working hours’ unlike in 2002, when games in Japan and South Korea were played in the morning before working hours, and which might have contributed to poor attendance and lateness.  Yes it might encourage staff to disappear early or arrive late to work the next day after a heavy night, but with the help of the above you should be ready for it.

So you do not need a specific policies on the World Cup to outline your company’s position as your current policies on absence reporting, IT usage and conduct should be sufficient to manage staff during the tournament while at work. By considering the above, and being clear beforehand re-communicating the policies to staff, this will go some way to make it a positive experience for all and go some way towards promoting a positive company culture.

So, who’s with me?
Sorry I should explain – I’ll not be watching football on TV, I just wondered who would be joining me down the pub in the garden!!