Tina Chander said: “Major sporting occasions can divide as well as unite workplaces, and it’s important that employers are prepared for this summer’s World Cup. Many staff members will want to watch the matches, but there will be others who have no interest in the football at all.
“Employers will need to balance the needs of both camps, and use teamwork to get the best out of their staff, finding compromises where possible that will keep everyone happy.”
Tina urged employers to be flexible by possibly changing the start and finish times of the working day, or allowing a longer lunch break so staff could catch the match. “Be honest and open with your staff though, and if you can’t accommodate any changes to your working practices, say so.
“You should also be fair with the way you respond to requests for time off and avoid favouritism. Don’t forget to ensure those people who are not interested in football are treated equally too.”
She said employees who were unable to get to a television for a big match may well turn to the internet instead. “Make sure you are clear about your policies on this and whether you will allow it, as there is likely to be an increase in the use of social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, or in viewing sports news websites.
“And inform your staff that sudden absences that just happen to coincide with the time of a big match will not be tolerated, and that you will take disciplinary action if necessary. The way to win a World Cup is down to teamwork, and that approach is just as important in the workplace too if companies want to successfully balance business and football.”