England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are all playing in the European Championships 2016 and with only a few weeks to go until the start of Euro 2016, business leaders need to start thinking about how the event might impact their business. Here’s how to get the best from your workforce.
The event might not be taking place in the UK, but it’s still likely to cause a shift in behaviour among the UK workforce. Whether they stay at home to watch it on television, attend a live match, or need a day off after staying up late to watch it – sports have a significant impact on attendance at work.
In the past, German union bosses called on employers to show leniency towards their football – supporting workers by allowing them to start work later the day after World Cup games.
For many organisations, this might seem like a big ask. However, it’s not a bad idea and could in fact prove beneficial for businesses in the long run. Surely it’s better to have employees arrive a little later than not arrive at all?
For businesses, the key is not to see Euro 2016 as a threat, but as a chance to maximise engagement.
The following five tips will help businesses to curb absenteeism and manage productivity during the Euro 2016:
- Turn unplanned absences into planned ones
Companies with football fans among their workforce, could see an increase in unplanned absences around the Euro 2016. So it’s important to turn unplanned absences into planned absences. This means creating policies and a company culture that will encourage and support employees for requesting time off beforehand.
This gives managers the ability to plan for that absence ahead of time and mitigate some of that productivity loss. For those businesses that already have an absence policy in place, it’s a good time to review it and remind employees what is expected of them and the disciplinary consequences of taking unauthorised leave.
- Offer flexibility
Organisations should offer flexible work hours when it’s feasible. Being an employer of choice often comes down to not necessarily being the employer that pays the most, but the employer that gives employees autonomy, treats employees like human beings who have lives outside the office and is willing to make accommodations in the form of paid time off, flexible work hours, and working from home where it’s supportable.
While there’s no legal requirement for employers to give employees time off to watch Euro 2016 matches, a bit of give and take to accommodate employee requests could do a huge amount for morale.
- Get in on the fun
Rather than accept the high level of absenteeism around such events, employers can positively channel excitement by asking the staff canteen to serve game-day food like hotdogs, pizza or pies. Or they can tap into the excitement of the event by screening matches in the workplace, perhaps by turning conference rooms into screening rooms or allowing the radio on in the background if it’s not too disruptive.
Big sporting occasions provide a connection for colleagues from different teams or departments who might not normally interact with one another to get together in a friendly way. For example, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Games had a great impact on employee collaboration and engagement, so organisations should embrace them.
- Plan accordingly
Don’t plan to kick off any big, bold initiatives for a morning after a big sporting event, especially if it’s a late event. Instead, organisations should do their research beforehand and pick a more suitable date.
It’s also worth bringing up the possibility of absences the week before, so that businesses can establish who might be planning a late night and may be coming in later the next day.
- Don’t forget the minority
Remember that not all staff like football and might be annoyed at concessions given to football fans, particularly if they feel that they are left doing the lion’s share of the work.
Businesses need to be sensitive to the mood of non-football fans or they might face absence problems from the non-football fans in your team!
You can find information about the Euro 2016 schedule and dates here.
Managers should keep an eye on acceptable behaviour and the usual policies and procedures for addressing staff differences and potential discrimination should be used.
If you need any assistance in producing relevant policies for this purpose or having current policy and procedures checked, then please contact me.