World Cities conference

By Deborah Ritchie

With the start of the World Cup less than a week away, employers are being urged to update business continuity plans ahead of football fever – particularly where they relate to staff absences.

Staff absences are more prone to rise during large sporting events, which has are more significant impact on employers whose staff are working shifts.

Jo Eccles, business adviser at the Forum of Private Business, says: “Sporting events such as the World Cup can bring a real feel good factor and many people will want to watch and get behind England. While the majority of matches may be in the evening out of office hours for most of us, the final fixture will be towards the end of the working day and employers may want to arrange plans to allow staff to be able to watch what could be the big decider for Hodgson and his team.”

The FPB suggests screening matches at work or allowing flexible working to counteract absence. Some businesses consider using it as a perk - giving employees one or two hours’ time off ahead of the 5pm kick off and use the hours as an incentive, perhaps based upon individual or group performance.

Jo continues: “The group round fixtures are likely to have a greater impact for employers whose staff are working evening shifts –the hospitality and retail sectors in particular – but thinking ahead and speaking to staff is likely to help keep issues around absence to the minimum. It’s also important to remember that not everyone in your employment will support England. So, to avoid any discrimination allegations, it will be important that employers offer the same concessions to all employees who wish to watch the match involving their chosen country. Plus, not everyone will enjoy watching football, so be mindful of others when making arrangements.”

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