15 June 2018
On 14 June 2018 the World Cup tournament begins and runs until 15 July 2018 with a total of 64 games being played during that period. For some there will be nothing more important than watching the games and the feel-good factor that a business can create by allowing employees some flexibility to watch games that fall during the working day may be worth the advanced planning. It is of course important that employers are also aware of issues that could arise in the workplace during this time and that they are able to deal with any problems swiftly and effectively.
It is unlikely that there will be a policy in place for this type of event, but an employer can issue one off guidelines that set out exactly how the company will deal with the various issues that might arise during the world cup. For example:
It might be that employers wish to deal with things informally and for decisions to be made by line managers. However, if this is the case be careful to avoid differing decisions that could give rise to discrimination claims.
You may find that there is an increase in disciplinary issues during this time such as:
Employers must ensure they deal with any issues brought to their attention promptly and appropriately. Differentiation in treatment of those breaching the rules could give rise to further issues. Employer’s should also ensure they consider their social media policy and look out for any breaches of this.
The World Cup can be a great opportunity to unify staff, build morale and generally engage employees provided it is handled correctly. For example, employers could choose to show games during break out areas, allow for decorations in the office and possibly even allow dress down days where employees can wear their national shirt. There may even be scope to combine the event with some fundraising offering refreshments and snacks and giving the proceeds to a charity.
Whilst the steps set out at point 3 can really help with employee engagement, it is important to ensure that there isn’t an unintended effect of alienating some employees and in worst cases discriminating against them. Ensure that it is not just England games that are shown and if you are going to allow for decorations and football shirts then all nationalities should be included.
It would be useful, ahead of the tournament, to draw any policies or guidance to everyone’s attention and give a gentle reminder of the standards that are expected throughout the tournament.