So at the time of writing England’s Euro campaign is going well and the third match is tonight. The matches have varied in the kick-off time but we’ve seen afternoon matches and night time matches. Whichever way you look at it, both are going to impact the workplace, so how are you handling this and other major events that impact on the workplace?
There’s more and more events like this; Wimbledon, the Olympics (including the Paralympics), the Rugby World Cup (last year obviously), state events (I know one business who screened Margaret Thatcher’s funeral in the Board Room) and there seems to be growing pressure on businesses to create policies to allow staff flexibility to accommodate their desires to view such events.
What are your options if you’re really wanting to get behind the events?
Screen matches in the workplace, or listen to radio commentary allowing work to continue.
Allow time off during working hours with the agreement that downtime will be made up or pay be reduced.
Have themed days in the office, everyone comes in their football strip, get pizza or fish and chips delivered.
Be very careful about being tempted to provide beer/alcohol. There’s no legislation that bans it but under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 you need to ensure the welfare of staff at work. ‘Knowingly allowing an employee under the influence of excess alcohol to continue working which places the employee or others at risk, could lead to prosecution’.* Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – Guide for employers on alcohol at work (1996)
Decorate the office with bunting relevant to the tournament.
Have a sweepstake to pick the winning team.
Organise your own games. You could bring in a table football game and have mini games during lunch breaks and get a tournament going in your office.
Once you've decided how you're company will approach the event you need to devise a policy that is clearly communicated to all staff stating your approach.
Secondly, apply this consistently throughout the organisation.
Thirdly, follow up on any member of staff not following the policy.
If you’re in an industry that just can’t allow flexibility to take time off etc. then you must make this clear and ensure that people use their annual leave to book time off to accommodate their wishes.
Equally, if people are wanting to go to the pub or have parties at home during the tournament ensure they know their responsibilities to make sure that they’re fit for work the next day or to book the following day off to ensure that they’re not under the influence of alcohol at work.
Bear in mind the preferences of your staff when making such policies. If you make adjustments for one tournament, such as the Euro’s, you may open up requests from other members of staff for other tournaments such as Wimbledon, or various major golf tournaments. A tip for dealing with this is perhaps to take a vote and make adjustments for, say, the top 3 events. Additionally, during the tournaments make sure that you allow flexibility for geographical allegiances. You may need to screen Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland and Rep of Ireland games (among others) aswell!
Embracing such special events in the workplace can really raise morale and, thinking back to the article on Employer Branding a couple of weeks ago, could lead to some great stuff on social media about you and your organisation.
If you are an employer and need ongoing assistance with staff and employment matters, talk to Cheryl at PeakHR. We offer competitive rates and cater specifically for small employers.
Please note our blog posts contain general information and are intended as guidance only and should not be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. Please ensure that you obtain advice tailored to your individual situation before taking action. These posts apply to the UK only.