• Cipd
  • IP
  • St Andrews Business Club
  • Cipd
  • IP
  • St Andrews Business Club
A summer of sporting events could have a historic impact in the workplace if employers get it wrong
12 June 2014

Whether you support England in the World Cup or Jamaica in the Commonwealth Games, whether you will follow the European team in the Ryder Cup or be rooting for Andy Murray to retain his Wimbledon crown; there is probably a sporting event suitable for you to enjoy this Summer.  There are a number of winning tactics that employers can use to ensure that you are treated fairly and that you get to cheer on your favourite team or sportsman/woman.


The major sporting fixture this summer for many of us is of course the Football World Cup hosted by Brazil with the first matches kicking off this week and the final being played on 13 July. Because of the time difference many of the matches will be played outside normal office hours however for employers who do require staff to work in the evenings or overnight, it is practical to consider how they might be able to follow their favourite team. 

So the first tactic to employ is CONSULTATION with your employees.  Talk to them to find out how much sport they will actually want to watch, what is the level of interest, for example, and have open communications about suggested changes to working practices to meet staff needs to watch their team.

Be realistic about the opportunities to watch events together.  Also, be aware that if a high number of staff want to watch sporting events being streamed via the Internet there may well be problems with your Internet capacity.  Instead why not schedule a break to watch such events together? Another option might be to have a more flexible approach to the working day and allow people to start and finish earlier or later.

The second tactic to use is PLANNING ahead for applications for time off.  It is possible that some staff will be volunteers at the Commonwealth Games or perhaps they have tickets.  Ensure you follow your own annual leave policy on allocating leave especially if there are a number of applications for leave at the same time. Try and be fair and consistent.  Remember too that not everyone is a sporting fan so try not to show favouritism in allocating time off work to watch sport.

The third tactic is to MANAGE ABSENCE in the usual manner during the sporting events and ensure that staff are aware that you will be doing so.  Any unauthorised absence or patterns in absence, or unauthorised early finishes, should be dealt with in accordance with your normal policy; you could include is as part of your consultation process.

The final tactic is to ensure staff know what is expected of them regarding BEHAVIOURS at work especially regarding any form of harassment which should not be tolerated. Harassment is defined as unwanted behaviour that causes a humiliating, degrading  environment.

  • Some key dates in the football are:
  • Sat 14 June England Vs Italy 23.00
  • Thu 19 June England vs Uruguay. 20.00
  • Tue 24 June England vs Costa Rica 17.00
  • The key dates for the Commonwealth Games are 23 July - 4 August.

Obviously some of sports fixtures will be more popular than others but planning ahead is the key to harmonious working relationships for all sporting events to ensure everyone is treated fairly and there are no workplace fallouts. Leave that to whoever loses the sweepie!

If you need help with this or any other time off request, or if you're not sure whether your social media policy and Internet use is up to scrutiny then contact me for assistance.

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