Major sporting events can cause trouble for employers, but if you are prepared to embrace World Cup fever, you may find that a flexible approach actually helps your organisation and boosts employee morale and enhances productivity.

Not convinced?

Try out some of these ideas to make sure that you don’t end up scoring an own goal this summer:

  1. Be imaginative

Not everyone loves football, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be involved in the fun.

Get your creative cap on and come up with some original games, for example, have some prizes for those who can guess who will win the tournament, who will be the top scorer and how many goals England will score.    

You could consider activities such as people cooking food from different countries, putting up some decoration in the break out room or organising a quiz on World Cup trivia. All these get people build a good working atmosphere in the workplace. 

  1. Make an event out of it

You could consider allowing employees to watch some key matches on a big screen in a conference room or any communal space. This brings people together and helps forge relationships beyond business teams or divisions.

From an employment law perspective, it is important to remind employees to have fun and enjoy the matches but to be respectful. Not everyone will be supporting the same team so people should be tolerant and considerate of others around them. This not only applies to comments and actions in the workplace – employees should be careful about posting offensive posts and images about their colleagues on social media.  If you do not have a policy surrounding behaviour at work events, it is highly advisable to send all employees a memo which reminds them what is expected from them. This helps keep the event entertaining and keeps grievances at bay.

If you would like to host it off site, for example at the local pub, be mindful if the venue allows under 18s; if it puts off workers of certain religions or sexes and if it is easily accessible for wheelchair users. 

  1. Try and be flexible

If an employee is going to be distracted, feign sickness to get out of work to see important matches or turn up the next day under the influence, consider letting them work flexibly.

 If they are a shift worker, they could swap shifts with a colleague. If the match is on late in the day, they could leave early and make up the hours at another time. Simple tweaks to their working time can avoid a whole host of problems for employers and ensure that the employee is engaged and motivated at work.

With some thought and planning, you can turn headaches into win-win situation and make the World Cup something that builds camaraderie across your organisation.

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