FIFA World Cup 2018 and employment issues

So it seems we can’t argue with the viewing figures and love it or loath it, World Cup fever seems to be getting to most of us – well the 18 million or so who watched England’s match against Tunisia on Monday evening. The figures state that it is (so far) the most watched programme on television so far in 2018.

So why am I writing about this in a blog you may ask?  Because whilst the first England match may have been on at 7pm, there will be people who wanted to watch the match who were at work and whether you like it or not, your approach to the World Cup may have an impact on your staff. Other matches may be during the ‘normal’ working day which may have a greater impact.   Of course, not all employees are England football fans, some will be strongly supporting other teams (we are a multicultural society) and for some, the fact that there is a massive football tournament going on will completely pass them by and they’ll wonder what all the fuss is about.

So as an employer how do you survive it?  Some tips for you….

  • Keep a close eye on sickness – in particular if somebody has asked for the day off (because of a match) which is declined and they then take the day as sick leave. This needs to be picked up and dealt with quickly before others see it happening and start to copy the behaviour.
  • Can you be more flexible on holiday requests.
  • Are you able to introduce some flexible working – maybe allow them to make up time before or after a game.
  • Do you have the facility to put the matches on a TV screen for staff.  Clearly this will need some planning as you can’t interrupt your working day and work does still need to be done.
  • Are you able to let them listen to radio commentary?

Above all, you need to be objective, tolerant (of those very keen on the football and of those not keen at all – regardless of your own feelings) and mindful of the impact that this could have on your employee relations.  Handled well it can leave a very positive feeling within your own team – handled badly and it will leave a bitter taste.

If you would like further advice or help on how to handle some of these issues, please call me.


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