08 Jul Don’t Be A Spoil Sport!
Image credit: Seattle Municipal Archives – Tennis Instructor and class 1968
This summer’s sporting events are now in full swing, Wimbledon concludes this weekend and the Rio 2016 Olympics now just days away. For all this excitement, it can prove distracting for your business and so managing the day to day demands can be a bit sticky (heat or not). Employees often want time off at short notice and this, coupled with booked summer holidays means that your business will need to take these events into consideration. So how do employers remain sporting whilst keeping the business productive?
Enter Into The Spirit
Make sure you and your employees enjoy the summer and where possible, exercise some flexibility and enter into the spirit of the games. These events offer a great opportunity to boost staﬀ morale, engagement and loyalty. Think about showing the most popular matches on a screen in the oﬃce or allow staﬀ a limited amount of time to watch them on their PC or smartphone.
Be Mindful of Staff Diversity
Remember that all employees may not be supporting England. If you’re showing a match on a screen in the office, make it clear to staﬀ that the organisation will not tolerate any abuse on the grounds of people’s nationality/ethnic origin otherwise the company may ﬁnd itself facing a discrimination and harassment claim or even a constructive dismissal claim.
Stay Within The Law
Make sure the oﬃce is not being used for anything other than a sweepstake. A small sweepstake or work lottery doesn’t need a license provided that all the money staked is paid out as the prize money. This keeps things light-hearted too!
Plan Staff Absence
Talk to employees and their line managers to gauge the level of interest in this summer’s sporting events and if they’re likely to want to take time oﬀ. Often this doesn’t happen until events are hyped up. A quick email could really help everyone involved.
If you get a big response to your request for interest (ie everyone wants time off for the Olympic Opening Ceremony) you may need to agree some guidelines, such as ‘ﬁrst come, ﬁrst served’ in terms of holiday leave or a raffle- type selection process.
Check these in terms of time oﬀ, holiday leave, ﬂexible working, sickness absence, employee monitoring and disciplinary procedures. Make sure that managers are fully aware of these and how they may apply to employees’ absence, conduct or performance related to any sporting events.
Having reviewed your policies you may wish to update or amend them, for example, to introduce temporary arrangements to allow staﬀ to work from home at certain times, to swap shifts with colleagues or to work from a diﬀerent remote location – preferably not a local bar! Alternatively, you could introduce a ﬂexi-working system where staﬀ can take a couple of hours oﬀ and make up for it at another time or introduce unpaid leave.
Make sure staﬀ are well aware of what is expected, any special arrangements that will be put in place and the potential consequences. Make it clear what your business priorities are and remind staﬀ that unauthorised absence may lead to disciplinary action or throwing a “sickie” to watch the match will be taken seriously and treated as gross misconduct.
Make sure that any unplanned staﬀ absence is closely monitored and recorded. Ask staﬀ to notify their manager of the cause of their absence at the earliest opportunity.
Prepare for unplanned absence
Despite all the best intentions, planning and polices you may still see the amount of short term absence with staﬀ throwing a “sickie” rise. If your business requires it you may need to be prepared to call on agency staﬀ or employees on ‘zero-hours’ contracts.
If you’d like support or advice in managing any of these issues within your business, please get in touch on 01386 751 740 or email [email protected]