30 May 2014 #Employment
Companies with football fans among their workforce could see some disruption within their business during June and July. What can employers do to minimise this potential disruption whilst keeping employees engaged?
1. Offer flexibility
Allowing employees to watch matches during working hours will be very important to some employees and so could be a huge morale boost. This flexibility could take the form of flexible working hours, working from home or even screening matches in the workplace. If flexible working is offered, employers should make it clear what the terms of the working arrangements are to prevent abuse and ensure they act in a consistent manner across different parts of their business.
2. Holiday requests
There is no legal requirement for employers to give employees time off to watch World Cup matches, even if England reach the final! However, accommodating employee requests as far as possible could do a huge amount for morale. If employers can’t accommodate everyone, they need to ensure that they deal with the requests fairly and consistently, and manage employees’ expectations.
3. Deter absences
Employers might be worried that employees will call in sick rather than miss a match. For those businesses that already have an absence policy this may be a useful opportunity to review the policy, to remind employees what is expected of them, and the disciplinary consequences of breaching the policy.
4. Excessive internet use
Streaming the matches to their desktops could affect the employer’s network, as well as undermining productivity levels. This is a good opportunity to review any existing internet policy and make clear what the company’s position on internet use is.
Not all employees will be interested in football and not all employees will be supporting England. Employers need to ensure that they act consistently so no particular groups are disadvantaged by policies during the World Cup (particularly employers with multinational workforces or whose countries are also represented at the tournament). Equally, employers may also want to ensure their harassment policies are clear about what amounts to harassment.