Managing Staff Absence During European Football Championships and the Olympic Games

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Everyone must be aware of the two major sporting events taking place this summer in the Olympics and the European football championships. Some employees will have no interest whatsoever but a large proportion will be eagerly anticipating these competitions and looking forward to supporting their nation in the major events and matches. Don’t forget, we have an incredibly diverse working population and so there will be interest in watching competitions and matches from all nations. Although there is no obligation on employers to facilitate the viewing, research suggests that employees of companies who consider the outside interests of their staff are generally far more motivated and prepared to work that little bit harder for their employer. There is a lot of doom and gloom in the current economic climate and this provides a good opportunity to give a little and build morale. A little planning and forethought will go a long way to giving employees opportunities to support their nation without affecting the needs of the business. Here are some suggestions for consideration: Swapping shifts – allow employees to swap shifts with their colleagues to allow them to watch certain games provided there is sufficient cover so as not to affect the business. Flexible working hours – consider allowing staff to have flexibility with their working hours by perhaps starting earlier and therefore finishing earlier, or possibly taking time off to watch games and allowing them to make up the time another day. TV’s at work – allowing employees to watch certain events at work could be a good opportunity for team building but do remember that not everyone is going to be interested so make sure that no-one feels left out if sport’s not their bag! Internet – there will be constant updates on the internet and some events may be available to watch via the Web. Is it appropriate to allow your employees to keep up with events in this way without affecting the quality of their work? Holiday and unpaid leave – make any rules around taking holiday or unpaid leave during this period very clear to ensure that the business has adequate cover to continue working. Alcohol – Alcohol often goes hand in hand with major sporting events so remind staff of your policy on absence and the misuse of alcohol. Tell them that it is unacceptable to take time off sick to recover from a good night celebrating a win or to watch events and that they must not turn up for work suffering from a hangover. Make clear the disciplinary consequences of taking unauthorised time off without good reason. Now is a good time to review your policies and to decide whether some of these will be relaxed during these events but make sure that all employees are reminded of the Company’s policies and procedures and the possible consequences for not following them. Don’t forget too, that the Company must have a TV licence if sporting events are to be screened in-company on company-owned TV’s, computers or mobile phones.

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