Its that time again. Sporting tournaments that become the most important thing in life!
I myself have even taken to watching the different programmes aired lately either about the 1966 World Cup team or Alan Shearers 96 England Euro Team documentary on the BBC (you can watch that here on YouTube)
But when you have a workplace to run, what tips can we share to survive this latest attention grabbing event?
Over at lawyers Hay & Kilner – they provide a useful guide.
I have summarised the one’s that I know have worked for me in the past here:
Expect requests for time off work
As of June 2016 there is no legal requirement to grant employees time off to watch sporting events! (tongue in cheek comment I know). However, the following may increase staff morale and minimise the number of absences:
Agree that employees can take annual leave entitlement in the usual way and don’t discriminate by, for example, treating your male employees more favourably.
Grant employees unpaid leave - you will need to act consistently and fairly.
Operate a flexible working system on match days. Consider letting staff come into work later (if they have had a party the night before) or leave earlier (to catch the afternoon, or evening games) and make the time up.
Allow staff to listen to the radio or watch the television/internet at work. You should make it clear to the employees that you are doing this entirely on a discretionary basis and any unsavoury behaviour such as foul language will mean the privilege will be withdrawn.
Spurious Absences ...
Try and stop this happening in the first place by issuing a memo setting out your policy. State that any absences which are non-genuine or which aren’t reported in line with your sickness absence policy will be dealt with under your disciplinary procedure.
Make it clear return to work interviews will be held. You will need to hold these for all staff returning from sick leave, not just staff that you suspect have been watching the football.
Require employees to notify their absence to a specified senior person, such as a Director.
Ensure you have a clear sickness absence policy and a reliable method of recording sickness absence.
The simple fact is, of course, that if you don’t provide flexibility some people will find a way, anyway.
When I was HR manager for a business of 500 people, we took the approach to these events as an opportunity to create some fun, engagement and light-heartedness in the organisation.
Some fun ideas may include:
- having a competition to see who can dress their office the best
- having a TV or computer streaming the match set up for those who do want to indulge
- having nibbles from the countries you are watching (highly recommend staying away from alcohol at work – opens up a HUGE can of worms best avoided!
Other things to watch out for:
Whatever the performance of the team your employees are supporting there can be the potential of issues with consumption of excessive alcohol whilst watching matches. Whilst this will be out of work time, employers may need to monitor whether any of their employees are still under the influence when they return to work.
Whilst you may have a clear alcohol policy a reminder again may be worthwhile before the matches begin.
Not everyone in your workforce will be necessarily supporting England and within football there is a lot of banter and team rivalry. It is important that any such banter and rivalry does not turn into racial discrimination, which includes discrimination on the grounds of nationality.
Any employer being seen to help employees to get involved in being able to watch matches will no doubt boost staff morale but care needs to be taken not to isolate or treat less favourably those who have no interest in football.
Of course within The Employer Toolbox you get all the policies you need plus one to one guidance on their implementation and coaching around any issues you come across. We even have a free trial offer on right now, but it ends soon.