The World Cup is almost upon us; “kicking off” on Thursday 12th July and keeping us “footie mad” until Sunday 13th July. Although England games are scheduled to be played between 5pm and 11pm, UK time, other games may be of interest to others; especially as the finals draw near.
Although a time for celebration, and commiseration for some, employers face a number of issues when it comes to large sporting events – from requests for annual leave, unauthorised sickness absence, to website usage during working hours. Here are our top three tips for employers to stop that fever turning into a headache.
“It’s a game of two halves” – As an employer, you do not want productivity to be adversely effected during the World Cup, but you do want to be seen as an “engaging” organisation, so it is important to come up with a workable compromise between employers and employees before the start of any large sporting event. This includes having agreements covering annual leave, sickness and watching the TV or internet usage during working hours.
Annual leave & Sickness Absence – Your annual leave policy should give guidance as to how and when to book time off. You may wish to be more flexible when allowing leave during this period – but make sure that employees understand that it is a temporary arrangement or that it may not be possible at all. Sickness absence should be consistently – and fairly – monitored as standard. REMEMBER all leave requests should be treated equally at all times, not everyone is “footie mad”; so be prepared to be just as flexible (or not) for other sporting events, religious events, festivals etc.
The “Social” Side – More often than not there will be a significant increase in the use of social media and general internet usage; with pre-match, post-match and real-time footie action. From Twitter and Facebook to dedicated World Cup review website, employers should have a clear policy regarding web use in the workplace and the policy should be made known to all employees. REMEMBER that if an employer is monitoring internet usage then the data protection act requires you to make it clear that monitoring is occurring to all employees and what is and isn’t acceptable use.
Remember, having agreements in place when it comes to employees – and employers’ – conduct at the beginning of a sporting event will relieve much of the headache. With the two parties working together, productivity and ultimately your bottom line, may not be affected. Consistency is key!