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As England march on in their quest for World Cup glory, employers could find themselves facing staff productivity issues with many matches taking place during working hours. We outline some of the ways that employers can tackle some of the most common concerns whilst still enabling employees to get behind their team!

Plan ahead

It is understandable that for major sporting events such as the World Cup, many employees may wish to watch key matches. Employers can put in place specific plans which deal with employees taking time off, absenteeism or allowing staff to watch and keep up with match scores during working hours.

Employers need to strike the right balance – and be mindful that the World Cup may not be of interest to everyone – to ensure consistency and that appropriate working levels are maintained.

Be flexible

Introducing flexible working – albeit temporarily if a formal policy is not in place – can offer employers and employees a short term solution. This could mean an earlier start, earlier finish or an adjustment to lunch breaks with a clear agreement as to when the additional hours can be made up.

Another approach may be to create a communal area where staff can go and watch key matches during the working day, again with plans in place to make up any time lost. Employers need to remember that they should be fair and consistent to everyone and bear in mind different shift patterns of staff in various departments.

Requests for time off

Employees may wish to use some of their holiday leave entitlement during the World Cup and should follow the process to book time off in the normal way. Employers may receive an increase in requests for particular match days and may decide to be more flexible with how they authorise absence – again they need to be fair and consistent and communicate what approach they will be taking in advance.

Sickness and absence

Attendance should be monitored to address any issues with sickness and unauthorised absence. Employers need to be aware of staff taking time on match days or not coming into work the next day because of late night celebrations (or commiserations!).  Employees should also be reminded of the policy relating to drinking or being under the influence of alcohol during working hours.

Use of the internet and social media

In order to keep up with the various match scores, employers may find that there is an increase in the number of staff using the internet and the frequency that they are checking various sites for the latest news. Now is the time to remind employees of the company policy to use of social media and websites during work time and what will be considered as acceptable.

Team rivalry

Not everyone will either be watching the World Cup or supporting England and employers need to be aware of any situations where rivalry turns into discrimination. A timely reminder of policies and procedures regarding acceptable behaviour should be issued.


Sharp Consultancy specialises in the recruitment of temporary, interim and permanent finance professionals and the full spectrum of HR roles.  With offices in Leeds, Sheffield, Doncaster and Manchester our highly experienced team of consultants recruit for positions throughout Yorkshire and beyond.


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