Euro 2020 has finally arrived for football fans after it was postponed due to Covid-19. However, employers need to consider how best to manage their workforce in the coming weeks to ensure productivity isn’t affected.
A highly anticipated month of sport
Expectations are high for the England team this year, with many people tipping them to win the tournament – meaning there are lots of people eager to keep an eye on the competition as it progresses.
For employers, there may be concerns regarding their employees’ focus, due to a number of fixtures taking place during working hours, but there are ways businesses can maintain productivity while ensuring everyone can still enjoy the tournament.
It’s likely that employers will receive an increase in requests for annual leave during the tournament. However, if the business is unable to accommodate all of these requests, it’s vital that staff members are made aware that time requested off work is granted on a fair and consistent basis.
Alternatively, temporary changes could be made to employees’ working hours to allow them to watch matches and then recoup the time at a later date. In some cases, this may be preferable to someone booking off a full or half day of annual leave.
While a high number of employees are still working from home due to Covid-19, employers may find their staff are watching Euro 2020 fixtures when they’re meant to be working, which may reduce productivity.
Prior to these key tournament matches starting, I would advise business owners remind their workers of their responsibilities and not watching matches when they’re meant to be at work.
Minimising unauthorised absences
If a member of staff has requested time off that was unable to be granted, there could be incidences of people being tempted to call in sick, when they aren’t actually ill, to be able to watch the game.
During the tournament, I would recommend employers pay closer attention to sickness absence and take measures to prevent and deter teams from taking advantage of the system. This may involve reminding them of sickness absence policies, in particular what is considered to be a genuine reason for absence, and notifying them that any unauthorised absences could result in disciplinary action.
Monitoring internet usage and behaviour
It’s an employer’s responsibility to make it clear that excessive use of the internet and social media in order to keep up-to-date with Euro 2020 is not acceptable. I would recommend reinforcing internal policies that may already be in place with regards to personal internet and social media usage.
Business owners may want to actively check and monitor internet and social media activity during the tournament. If so, they should ensure staff are aware this is a possibility by, for example, including it in the staff handbook.
Football fans can be extremely competitive, therefore it’s also worth bearing in mind that not all staff members who are football fans may support England, and workplace banter may develop between those supporting opposing nations. For example, other home nations Wales and Scotland have qualified for the tournament, with a match between England and Scotland already in the diary.
It’s essential that this doesn’t cross the line into discrimination, based on nationality, and employers should take steps to keep this under review and make it clear that any discriminatory behaviour will result in disciplinary action.
Make the most of it
This tournament can offer the opportunity for employees to engage and bond with one another, and employers may want to take advantage of this by embracing the tournament to ensure everyone feels included.
Employers who successfully use Euro 2020 as an employee engagement tool are more likely to experience high spirits in the workplace, at a time when a positive impact on morale is incredibly important as we emerge from the pandemic.