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The European Football Championships are almost upon us starting on June 10th until July 10th. I’m sure that all businesses have a number of employees who are a little more fanatic about the football than others and it may be likely that one or two or more employees may suddenly call in sick around that time.

From a HR perspective, we understand that work life balance is more important than ever and many businesses have or are aiming to move towards a more flexi working culture. But even around major sporting events like this, it shouldn’t mean that productivity and your business should have to suffer.

MH 120216 Est 13So have you considered how the Euros may affect your employees and you as the business owner? How would you tackle any disruption caused by possible absence and misconduct?

Absence

Employers should consider being proactive and reviewing their policies to ensure they cover all employee behaviour that may be affected by the Football. Current workplace policies may not cover how you deal with time off to watch sporting events, unauthorised absence or a number of requests at the same time.

It’s a good idea have a clear sickness absence policy in place alongside effective and efficient tools for monitoring and recording absence. You may wish to implement a ‘time off policy’ for major sporting events to communicate the expected standards of behaviour for future events.

Internet usage in the workplace

And what about those employees who are constantly watching the games on the company internet or on their phones in the workplace? Employers may want to check their IT and Communications policies and remind employees what levels of internet usage is and is not acceptable in the workplace. Disciplinary action can be taken against staff who abuse your internet policies.

Alcohol

Employers may wish to remind employees of their Alcohol Misuse policies during such sporting events and how they deal with employees who are found to be working under the influence of alcohol, especially when operating heavy machinery or work with the general public. Businesses have also been known to allow or even provide employees with alcohol for such events, but whatever you as the employer decides you should ensure employees are aware of expected standards of behaviour.

Harassment and discrimination

Employers should also be mindful of the banter between rival countries and possibility of this leading to harassment claims, which employers may be liable for if they were seen to have not taken reasonable steps to prevent such behaviour taking place. There is often not a clear line between competitive banter and bullying so it may be worth reiterating your Equal Opportunities and Harassment policies around this time to highlight what behaviour is not acceptable.

Employee Engagement

Depending on the nature of your business and staffing requirements, employers may also want to jump on the ‘employee engagement’ opportunities that these events can bring. Allowing employees to follow the football during work hours may actually avoid unauthorised absence and increase employee morale. Be mindful of employees who are not interested in sporting events and are not distracted from their work. What can the business offer in return for them?

Some forward planning and reviewing your policies can help businesses to prepare and understand better how they may tackle such issues. If you need further advice on this topic then we would be pleased to hear from you.