Posted by Malcolm Gregory, Partner
Be flexible with staff during the 2016 European Championship
With the European Football Tournament starting tomorrow (10 June 2016), and some matches due to take place during normal working hours, employers are anticipating some disruption to the workplace over the coming weeks. Mark Emery shares some tips for managing employee absence and keeping up productivity.
What are the common issues?
With all major sporting events, the main issues tend to be:
- numerous requests from employees for time off at the same time
- increased/unacceptable internet and social media use during working hours
- sickness absence, or commonly known as employees ‘pulling sickies’.
Euro 2016 is likely to have a wider impact across the UK than previous events given that, in addition to the England team competing, both Northern Ireland and Wales have qualified for their first major tournament for many years.
My advice to local businesses is to be flexible and reach agreement with your staff in advance. Generally speaking, it is better to offer flexibility, and allow employees certain amounts of time off which can be made up later down the line, rather than to risk productivity being significantly reduced while employees are at work, or employees phoning in sick.
Top tips for the next few weeks
- Deal fairly and consistently with requests for time off/annual leave. Most businesses will have annual leave policies but increased flexibility will be helpful at this time. Employers should also make sure that they deal with all requests fairly, remembering that not everyone likes football!
- Take steps to control sickness absence, or reduce employees pulling sickies. Sickness policies should still apply, attendance monitored and any unauthorised absences dealt with appropriately in accordance with the company’s disciplinary procedure. Setting parameters at the outset and sending memos to staff about your company’s expectations is critical.
- Use the championship to boost staff morale by screening key matches in the workplace and allowing employees to watch games together providing the business operational requirements allow the same.
- Avoid reducing productivity or time-wasting. Allowing employees to watch the match or to keep up to date through social media and websites can avoid employees misusing company time.
- Control employees under the influence of alcohol at work. We all know that many like to indulge in a drink or two while watching football matches. Setting guidance as to whether there is a clear no alcohol policy or whether to simply avoid excessive alcohol consumption, will avoid alcohol abuse.
Achieving a flexible system of work and a good work-life balance for employees is always key to a successful workforce with good productivity. This should not change during any major sporting tournament, such as the Euros, and we simply urge you to plan ahead depending on how the national team perform in the Group Stages of the tournament.
If you have questions or concerns about the impact of the European Football Tournament on your business, or any other employment law or HR matter, please get in touch with us.
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