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How does your company score on flexible working?

With the World Cup now in full swing in Russia, for some of us thoughts will be turning to England’s chances of making it to the final after winning their first game last night.

With match times in the UK taking place between 1pm and 8pm it’s important for businesses to plan ahead to manage those late-night celebrations, increased website and social media use and potential arguments over annual leave or shifts which may cause problems in the workplace.

Flexible working and use of holiday buy back schemes can improve staff retention, reduce absenteeism, increase the commitment and motivation of your employees and potentially make your business more responsive.

However, even if flexible working and holiday buy back schemes are not appropriate for your business, there are other ways to be flexible during the World Cup and other major events.

World Cup advice

ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, has urged employers to be ready for the contest by making sure that businesses, especially small ones, have agreements in place in advance so that everyone knows where they stand.  This is the key to ensuring your business stays productive and that your workforce is engaged.

ACAS Chair, Sir Brendan Barber, has said: "The World Cup is an exciting event for many football fans but staff should avoid getting a red card for unreasonable demands or behaviour in the workplace during this period." 

"Many businesses need to maintain a certain staffing level in order to survive. Employers should have a set of simple workplace agreements in place before kick-off to help ensure their businesses remain productive whilst keeping staff happy too.”

ACAS also provide a series of top tips that employers should consider for the World Cup:

Annual leave

Employers may be able to be a little more flexible than normal during the World Cup period, but employees also need to bear in mind that they may not get their choice of dates off.

It is also important that leave requests are dealt with fairly and a consistent approach taken for other major events – not everyone likes football and being fair will avoid any ill-feeling from those that don’t enjoy the sport.

Sickness absence and late attendance

It is not unusual for sickness absence and late attendance rates to rise during major events. Employees should be made aware that the company’s attendance policy still applies during this period and that any unauthorised absence could result in disciplinary proceedings.


One option that may be appropriate for your business is to allow employees to start late or finish early and make up the time at a later date. 

You may also wish to consider allowing workers to swap shifts or allowing employees to take breaks during match times. Some companies create dedicated areas for employees to watch matches or check scores during their breaks.

Incentives for full attendance during June and July could also be considered.

Again, it is important that any special arrangements are fair and consistent so any change of hours or working patterns should be authorised in advance.

Social networking and websites

The World Cup is likely to lead to an increase in the use of social media sites and websites, so a clear web usage policy that outlines what usage is acceptable will go a long way to avoiding any potential problems. Remember that if you monitor your employees’ Internet use, data protection regulations mean you must inform them of this.

Find out more

For more information about flexible working during the World Cup, visit http://www.acas.org.uk/worldcup for advice for both employers and employees.


Melody Thompson

Published by Melody

about 4 years ago


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