‘Be flexible over football’, employers told

As the 2010 World Cup kicks off today, with South Africa taking on Group A rivals Mexico, employers are being given tips on how to keep footie-mad staff happy and still ensure that it’s business as usual.

‘Be flexible over football’, employers told

The Forum of Private Business warns that some employees will take more of an interest in their team’s fortunes than their work, and want to watch matches during work hours.

It therefore suggests that an employer could install a television at work so that staff can watch the game, and use the occasion as a team-building event, or they can listen to it on a radio. However, a television licence or licence from the Performing Rights Society will be required.

Another option is to let employees leave early to watch the game, but require them to make up the lost working hours during the week. Or staff can be invited to book annual leave if they want to watch a match.

The FPB also suggests that the two hours off work that a match will typically take to watch could be used as an incentive based upon individual or group performance.

Employers should be aware, too, that to avoid discriminating against staff members not supporting England or not interested in football, the same concessions should be offered to all employees.

“Work is work, and it’s important to know when to draw the line on issues such as unauthorised absenteeism and declining productivity,” says the FPB, “but the sensible approach for both employers and their staff is to be flexible.”

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