The 2018 World Cup gets underway this week, and whilst a timely reminder for employers to review their absence management policies to deter staff from taking ‘sickies’, Head of Employment at South West law firm Nick Rowe, says the sporting event is an opportunity to generate a good feeling in the workplace and boost staff morale, wellbeing and productivity.
The World Cup kicks off this Thursday 14th June 2018, and two of England’s three games in the first stage of the 2018 World Cup are scheduled for a weekday.
“Statistics and pundits have us believe that staff sick days and unscheduled absences are likely to rise on or around these days, as staff take their seats in front of the TV to watch England play live,” says Nick Rowe. “But it will be the best employers that take a proactive approach to these events as part of the creation of a positive workplace, culture and company ethos.”
On Monday 18th June England play Tunisia, and then play Belgium on Thursday 28th June, in between, playing Panama on Sunday 24th June.
Kick-off time for both weekday games is 7pm.
Nick believes that staff will feel good about an employer that recognises that their staff would like to watch the games: “Creating a flexible temporary working time arrangement for the duration of England’s time in the tournament, will boost workplace wellbeing,” he says.
“An employer could say allow staff to leave or finish work early on match days, and this is fairly simple to do by introducing the temporary working time arrangement that makes it clear that all staff can leave at say 4pm on the specified dates.
“If employers prefer staff to complete their standard eight hour working day, they can stipulate an earlier start time, but still give staff the opportunity to leave the office an hour or so early to give them time to get home or meet friends in the pub in plenty of time ahead of England’s kick-off.”
If premises have space and facilities, employers could stage their own World Cup event in the office, by setting-up big screen TVs to show the match for all staff.
Nick says it’s important that any temporary working time arrangements should be inclusive: “Just be sure not to discriminate against staff who aren’t football fans or bothered about watching the games live,” he says.
“It’s right and fair these staff should be allowed to take advantage of the flexible working arrangements too. If you have a diverse workforce, make sure any temporary flexible arrangements are also available to them to watch their own national team play in the World Cup.”
Nick adds: “Employers could consider adding a ‘special events’ policy to employee contracts, to set-out, and commit to, temporary flexible working time arrangements and so on, on an ongoing basis.”
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