10 Tips: Plan Now for ‘World Cup Fever’

SMEs need to start developing and communicating their plans for the football World Cup says HR service provider Right Hand HR which offers ten tips for managing ‘World Cup fever’.

Lindsay Grieve, Managing Director of Right Hand HR said:

“Inevitably, there’ll be scaremongering stories about how much the World Cup will cost the UK in terms of unauthorised absence and lost productivity. The typical concerns are that employees will call in sick – to watch a match or because they’re recovering from the night before – and that discussing games and checking scores will distract them from their work.”

However, Right Hand HR claims that, if handled well, this summer’s tournament is actually an opportunity to boost employee morale.

“The World Cup gives you a chance to show employees that you value them. A creative approach and a willingness to compromise can pay dividends in terms of staff loyalty and enthusiasm.”

Right Hand HR’s ten tips for managing World Cup fever are:

  1. Send a memo to all employees explaining your plans and expectations. Remind them how they can request time off to watch key matches.
  2. Implement flexible working practices, so employees can make up the time to watch their preferred games. Allow shift-working employees to swap shifts.
  3. Consider temporarily relaxing your rules. Remove any caps on the number of employees allowed to be off at the same time.
  4. Allow employees to watch key matches on television in the canteen or another communal area. Play a radio with match commentary or transmit matches over your PA system to employees on the shop floor.
  5. Encourage managers to talk openly with staff in advance about the measures being undertaken to allow people to watch matches.
  6. Remember, with the UK’s multi-racial workforce, employees may be following other nations. Allow them the same flexibility as you allow England supporters.
  7. Encourage employees to bring in flags and banners for their teams and, on match days, consider allowing employees to wear their team’s shirt.
  8. Remember that not everyone will be caught up in World Cup fever.
    Consider setting up ‘football-free’ areas. Ensure that any temporary changes to working practices apply to the entire workforce.
  9. Do explain how any unauthorised absences will be dealt with.
    Highlight the key points of your absence procedure, who to ring, when to ring and sick pay entitlement. Make it clear that if an employees’
    sickness links directly to the football fixtures, an investigation may take place and they may be asked to provide a medical certificate to support their absence.
  10. Be as flexible as possible in accommodating enthusiasm for the World Cup. Remember, sporting events can bring social and financial benefits to the workplace, forging bonds and bridging gaps between colleagues.

The World Cup starts on 11th June 2010. England’s Group C matches are against: USA at 19.30 on Saturday 12th June; Algeria at 19.30 on Friday 18th June and Slovenia at 15.00 on Wednesday 23rd June.

“The England fixtures in the group stage shouldn’t cause too many problems. However, having the right procedures in place will equip you for the entire tournament. If previous England football, cricket and rugby victories are anything to go by, a successful run in the World Cup could provide a welcome boost to the economy.”

The dates and times of the 2010 World Cup group stage fixtures are available at: www.fifa.com/worldcup/matches.

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