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Every couple of years’ businesses are faced with a sporting event that unites us in national pride, but also has the potential to disrupt business. Euro 2016 is no different; and many people are gearing up for an exciting month. So what should you do? Embrace it, or ban it?

(And remember, the Rio Olympics are in August, so if you get your ducks in a row now, you can ensure you are consistent across the two sporting events.)

All businesses large and small are affected; but crucially for smaller firms it can be harder to maintain the necessary staffing level to ensure your business is not negatively affected. That’s why it’s vital to get a clear set of guidelines in place. This blog outlines the recommendations that we make to our clients as an HR service provider and also the practical steps you should take as an employer.

 

citrusHR Euro 2016 staff recommendations

1.     Create your Euro 2016 policy now.

It’s almost upon us, the first match is on the 10th June. If you haven’t already we suggest you read the ACAS guidelines. The chair of ACAS was quoted saying:

“Many businesses need to maintain a certain staffing level in order to survive. Employers should have a set of simple workplace agreements in place before kick-off to help ensure their businesses remain productive whilst keeping staff happy too.”

The remainder of this blog talks about how you can practically go about keeping staff happy whilst remaining productive…

2.     Encourage staff to agree time off with you well in advance.

When you inform staff of your workplace policy for Euro 2016, be as specific as you can about how much notice you want if a staff member is going to be absent from work to watch the match.

3.     Create a fair policy that covers all eventualities.

Clearly not everyone likes football, but you can’t be seen to discriminate and allow a staunch football fan the time off to watch the match and not someone else who is not an obvious football enthusiast.

You should also consider that it won’t be just the England games that some of your staff may want time off for. This year, for the first time, both Wales and Northern Ireland have qualified; plus you may also have staff from other European nations who want to support their home country.

Additionally, let’s not forget the Rio Olympics in August. It really is a summer of sports! Practically this could have a real impact on your business. You should expect and plan for some staff to take time off for the Olympics, rather than Euro 2016. So definitely worth mentioning that in your guidelines to staff now. And make sure your policy is the consistent for both.

4.     Embrace it!

We recommend that as far as possible you embrace it whilst ensuring you have adequate staffing levels. Perhaps you might like to bring a TV into the office; encourage office sweepstakes (they don’t have to involve money) and bring your staff together as a team. Use it as an opportunity to motivate your staff and show them that they work for a fun company. One that embraces national pride and competition. Your staff will have greater respect for you if you try to be flexible.

5.     Send round a staff memo.

A workplace agreement or policy sounds terribly formal, and like a lot of work. Practically, all it needs to be is a staff memo, on email, clearly explaining your guidelines and setting expectations, so no one is in doubt what is or is not allowed. Give staff a deadline to get requests in to their line manager so you can plan.

Your options – the practical steps you can take

Should staff take annual leave to watch the match as holiday?

You may want to look at being a little more flexible than forcing people to take annual leave to watch a match. Also remind your staff that it may not be possible for everyone to take the time off at the same time. Have you thought about devising a match rota? The key thing is that your business considers all request for time off fairly.

Bring a TV into the office to allow people to watch it from the office.

You might decide to really get into the spirit of things and bring a TV into the office to allow staff to watch the match together. Some staff may still want to watch the matches down the pub with their mates, and you should decide if that’s the case whether they should take annual leave for that.

Allow a more flexible working day.

Another option is to allow staff to come in later or leave a little earlier and make up the time they missed watching the match and / or take part of it as their lunch break. Whatever you decide just ensure you are specific and clear about what is and what isn’t acceptable, that it applies to everyone and any changes must be agreed prior to the event.

Be clear about staff being under the influence of alcohol whilst at work.

You may decide to allow staff to go to the pub to watch the game, but do you want them returning to work afterwards unfit for work? If you have a no alcohol policy at work it could be worth reiterating this as part of your memo; and then explain that if anyone does come back to work drunk they would be subject to disciplinary procedures in the same way as they would normally.

Remind staff of your work social media policy.

There will undoubtedly be a lot of social media chatter and increased internet activity around the tournament. What are you happy with? If you decide to monitor internet usage, remember the law requires you to inform staff. More on staff monitoring here >>

How should sickness absence be treated during this period?

Levels of attendance should be monitored in the same way as you usually would in accordance with your company’s absence policy. Let your staff know that if a repeated pattern of unauthorised absence occurs it would be subject to formal proceedings in the same way as if it happened normally.

 

Whatever you decide to do – embrace it or ban it – make sure that your guidelines for staff are clear and specific, include dates for notifying absence and they are consistent and fair for all. If you need any help or advice on this or any other HR matter our consultants are always on hand to help.

 

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