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Tips for keeping staff on track during sporting events

05 Jul 2017

Strawberries and cream, champagne and even a bit of sunshine, well if it isn’t Wimbledon 2017! The eyes of the tennis world are turned towards the grass courts in SW19 and for those not lucky enough to have tickets, it’s easy to keep up with the coverage on TV. The square outside our London office has deckchairs around a large screen for people to make use of during the day when, perhaps, they should be working.

While sporting events can bring people together, they can also be a concern for employers. Employees take ‘sickies’, turn up to work a little worse for wear after a night of celebration (or commiseration), or are simply not as productive as usual. There are a number of steps you can take as an employer to reduce the impact that major sporting fixtures can have on your business. You may even use such events to improve staff morale.

1. Have a clear annual leave policy in place

While fair play is important in sport, it’s also important in allocating annual leave. A clear annual leave policy will specify how leave is allocated and how far in advance it needs to be booked. During major sporting fixtures it’s possible that more people will want time off than the business can accommodate, so you need to decide how this will be handled, perhaps a ‘first come, first served’ approach. Consistency in applying the rules is key, nothing will have people calling foul quicker than some other people getting special treatment.

2. Stick to your sickness procedures

Whether your business conducts a return to work interview or uses a self-certification form after an absence, using the relevant procedure will mean that suspicious absences are more likely to be picked up and acted upon. It can also help deter people from taking “sickness absence” if they know that transgressions will be dealt with through the disciplinary process.

3. Make use of flexible working

Another tool you could make use of is flexible working, allowing fans to come in slightly earlier or leave a little later on some days, agreeing when the time will be made up. Again, it’s important to be consistent when applying this, as not everyone will be interested in the event and may feel that people are getting special treatment. Another option could be to screen matches in the workplace and encourage people to watch the match (or parts of it) together.

4. Remember, not everyone loves sport

While some employees may be able to talk of nothing else, there will also be those who couldn’t care less. To make sure you don’t alienate the non-sports fans, make sure you don’t give those following the sporting fixtures a better deal than those who aren’t interested. By having clear annual leave and absence procedures in place, and by ensuring those working flexibly make up the time, you can help ensure harmony in the workplace, even if your employees support different teams.

DMH Stallard has a full service Employment Group, please contact me on the details below if you have anything you would like to discuss.

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