With the world cup fully kicked off, we wanted to share a few tips to help you think about what adjustments you might want to make to best support your employees during major sporting events (it’s not all about football… It’s all about the people!).
According to London Loves Business, 46% of workers confessed they would call in sick if England win the tournament with a further 16.4% saying that although they would come into work, they wouldn’t get much done! Office Suppliers, Viking, are estimating the world cup will cost (based on the average UK wage) businesses a staggering £2.4bn! So as football fever kicks in, think about how you can keep your absence low and your employee engagement high:
1. Have you got a planned approach in place?
Setting out your approach to events that may disrupt your workplace and setting out clearly your expectations of employees is key to ensuring everyone understands how to comply, you can even introduce a Sporting Events Policy as a more formal approach.
You may want to show games in the office or in break out rooms. Whatever your level of interaction to such events in the workplace, we believe it’s good to have the choice to celebrate as encouraging diverse social engagement can really boost and strengthen good working relationships.
2. Do take the opportunity to positively remind employees of current policies and procedures you have in place:
Promote your planned approach to the event and have open conversation so your employees understand your expectations on how business still needs to continue. Explain any changes or remind your employees of current practice (i.e. requesting annual leave, dress code if you have one in place) and give examples of what is and isn’t acceptable referring to your policies that you have in place (i.e. use of work internet, mobile phone use including social media during work time, absence/lateness, conduct and behaviour).
3. Flexible working could reduce absence rates or concerns around attendance:
If it’s possible for your business to take a flexible working approach during the event it may reduce absence rates or issues with attendance. You could look at allowing employees to be flexible with their working hours (flexible start and finish times, an extended lunch break), swap shifts or use any time accumulated through time off in lieu (TOIL), or of course annual leave.
4. Be mindful of employees who don’t follow the World Cup
Remember to be mindful that not everyone enjoys football. There shouldn’t be any special treatment for those that do, your approach should be fair to all. Be consistent and fair with all annual leave requests. You don’t want those who aren’t following the football to feel left out.
5. Celebrate the different teams and nationalities within the workplace
This can be a great opportunity to support the diverse teams and nationalities involved in the World Cup. Finding out about each other’s interests further supports engagement, including those that aren’t football followers, what are their interests?Why not get them team to decorate the office with flags to show the teams they support or what their interests are instead of football. You could use these flags during and after the World Cup to put up at individuals’ work stations as a ‘do not disturb’ flag system, if employees need a bit of quiet time in their working day.
6. What to do about attendance during this time
If you concerned by an employee’s time keeping or unauthorised absence during the World Cup, then understand why this is and clearly set out your expectations, following your policies accordingly. Let employees know that the same procedures apply.
7. Encourage inclusivity and respect:
Everyone is different. Whether your employees are football followers or not, making sure there is a mutual respect for each other and appreciating all different perspectives to a debate is a vital component to building your team. ‘Jokes’ or ‘banter’ within the workplace can create problems, so do be mindful to address any situations that may arise where a matter becomes unacceptable – intentional or not, when a disagreement occurs, working it through promptly is the best thing to do, in order to get understanding, communication and respect back on track between colleagues.