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Blog : Winning the world cup…


Winning the world cup…

Will we? Won’t we? Have we got a chance? Love it or hate it you will be affected by ‘world cup fever’. Even if you are planning to take yourself off to a silent retreat on a remote island somewhere or / go shopping/ watch Sex and the City or all eight series of ‘24’ on DVD for the duration, there is the likelihood that it will encroach on your life in some way.

If you are in ‘the world cup zone’ how are you going to watch it? Especially if the games are taking place during working hours (many of them are kicking off at 4pm). Maybe you’d rather not take a whole day off, and perhaps you don’t have the holiday allowance? And if your team wins and you have a few drinks, are you really going to feel like working the next day? And therein lies the problem for business of all sizes, how to manage world cup fever and its associated absenteeism, whilst staying fair and not discriminating against anyone.

According to the CIPD, 90% of organisations have no policy in place to manage absence during the world cup, and only 5% have a policy in place and have publicised it across the organisation. Perhaps people don’t think a ‘policy’ per se is necessary. However it has been reported that a large number of people are likely to call in ‘sick’ on days that their country is playing (or the day after if they’ve been successful!)

According to Peta Fluendy (www.fmwf.com) the cost of absence during the 2006 world cup was £4billion! And the CBI estimate that 27 million ‘sick’ days in 2009 weren’t genuine, so there is clearly a challenge to be tackled here. Whilst many organisations are predicting losses, you have just enough time to put a policy in place or even better – embrace the fact it is happening and allow your people to feel part of it, you never know, it might even increase productivity in the long run.

So far we haven’t found any stats about the number of orgainisations who are installing a TV in the training room. However The Lancashire Telegraph reports that two of its biggest local firms – Capita Symonds and Daisy are encouraging people to come to work during important England games by putting up big screens in the workplace and running world cup themed activities. This will keep morale high, people will be encouraged to come to work, the company earns a deserved reputation as a ‘good’ employer and all for 90 minutes of letting people do what they want to do. Most people will no doubt still complete the same amount of work that day as they would have anyway, not to mention the bonding and boosted motivation levels that will take place amongst employees – perfect! If this isn’t a solution for you, then flexi time could be introduced for the period, and there will be people who are not interested in following a small white ball around a large green rectangle who will be willing to cover for those who do leave early.

For any business it is all about treating your people as individuals, and remembering that work life balance doesn’t always apply to finishing at a certain time every night, it is about engaging with the people that you work with and understanding what is going to make them happy – if watching England play football every four years is going to keep a person engaged in your organisation then find a way to make it happen. If other organisations can do it then so can you – and people will, in the long run make it up in one way or another.

Now, where are we going to fit that big screen?

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