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Rio Olympics 2016 – A Guide to Survival

Out with the Euros and in with the Rio Olympics 2016. We can’t get away from sport this summer (though it does make a pleasant change from the Brexit doom-and-gloom).

With the arrival of yet another major sporting event, employers are once again challenged with the decision of whether to embrace the event or to persuade employees to put work first. While major sporting events can boost the general feel-good factor they also create nuisances for employers.

Following the Euros ACAS said that the main issues which affected businesses were:

  • requests for annual leave;
  • sickness absence;
  • inappropriate internet and social media use.

ACAS suggested that employers have a set of workplace agreements in place to help ensure businesses remain productive and balance staff requests for time off. Planning ahead is always key to HR happiness. If you haven’t already done so consider having clear rules in place covering: flexible working, taking time off, absence from work, use of social media and websites and alcohol consumption. All the usual stuff really!

A recent survey of 894 employees across the UK found that 64% thought that showing sporting events in the workplace would boost their productivity.

51% of respondents thought employers should allow more flexibility such as early or late starts or allow them to swap shifts with colleagues. Nearly a quarter agreed that a lack of flexibility would persuade them to pull a sickie so they are able to watch sporting events.

Before the Euros Sir Brendan Barber (former TUC General Secretary and now Chairman of ACAS) advised employers not to reprimand staff during the ‘’exciting event’’. What? Even if they throw a sickie? Hardly!

Whether you love or loathe sport deal with it sensibly. If you take steps to allow your employees to enjoy the sporting event you can get through a period of potential disruption with happier employees and without harming productivity or experiencing a surge in sport-related sickness.

  • Communicate the sickness and holiday policies before the any major sporting event. Make sure you explain your sickness notification procedure.
  • Remind your team about the holiday booking process. Employees must give notice of at least twice the period of leave that they would like to take. For example, if a week’s leave is requested then two weeks-notice must be given. You may need more notice and you may also have to limit the number of people on leave at the same time.
  • Monitor attendance levels in line with the company’s attendance policy. Let your employees know that any unauthorised absence could result in formal proceedings.
  • If resources allow you to be more flexible, then you should do so. There may be days where you allow employees to leave a bit early or start a little later than normal. Then agree when this time can be made up.
  • Consider whether employees may be able to work from home without causing disruption to the business. If so have a system in place to monitor the flexible hours.

Employees may be tempted to watch coverage or check the live scores on their computers or personal devices. Have a clear policy regarding internet and social media use during working hours which should be clearly communicated to all employees. To cover all bases, provide employees with their own copy. The policy should detail what is and isn’t acceptable.

We deal with the good, the bad and the ugly of HR. If you need help resolving problems with the annoyances that come with major sorting events or any other HR issues, give us a call on 01908 262628.

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