Adopting a flexible approach to requests from employees during Euro 2016 can ensure business goals are scored and staff remain onside, says employment experts HR Team.
Employers are being urged not to suffer own goals in business productivity or workplace relations by being ill-prepared for requests to facilitate staff wishes to watch their heroes in the Euros.
The tournament which features both Irish international teams for the first time in history kicks off this Friday and HR Team is advising employers to put agreements in place that cover requests for time off, sickness absence, website use during working hours, watching TV or listening to radio during this period.
“We are all looking forward to a fantastic Euro 2016 and employees have an opportunity to get their Euro 2016 policy right well before kick-off.
“Employers can expect requests for time off, extended breaks or flexible working arrangements and it would be a good idea for them to be prepared in advance,” says HR Team performance management expert Martina McAuley.
“Granting these requests is something employers should be considering in order to maintain high productivity and avoid conflicted loyalties.
“The Republic of Ireland kick off their campaign next Monday at 5pm while Northern Ireland play their second group stage game on Thursday and employers would be prudent to expect requests from staff to leave work early to watch the action.
“A possible option for employers is to permit more flexible working hours. Employees could perhaps start later or finish sooner, and agree to make up the extra time on another date.
“Another option is to allow staff to listen to coverage on the radio or watch matches on TV. Employers may allow employees to have their breaks during matches. Making substitutions by way of shift swaps, which are pre-approved by the team manager, would also be an option.”
Ms McAuley said that it is equally important to be clear on the rules of play in the workplace to ensure that staff avoid being shown the red card and other penalties.
“Unreasonable demands or behaviour in the workplace during this period can be easily avoided if everyone is clear on the policy.
“Employers need certain staffing levels in order for their businesses to run smoothly. It is therefore important that employers have basic workplace agreements in place before kick-off to help ensure good productivity and workplace relations.
Five tips for employers during Euro 2016
Annual leave fairness
Employers can consider a more flexible approach to allowing employees annual leave during the event. Employees must be clear that not everyone can book the same period off. It I important to come to an agreement in these situations. Regardless of the nature of the request, all should be considered in a fair manner. Consistency must be applied to leave requests concerning other major sporting events too.
Sickness absence patterns
It would be advised to closely monitored attendance levels in line with organisation’s attendance policy. Unauthorised absence or patterns of absence during the event - which may include late attendance at work due to post match celebrations - could result in formal action.
A possible option is to allow more flexible working. Employees could perhaps start later or finish sooner, and agree make up the extra time on another date. Other options are to allow staff to listen to coverage on the radio or watch matches on TV, permit employees to have their break during matches or authorise shift swaps.
Increased online activity could lead to reduced productivity.Employers should have a clear policy on online activity and web use in the workplace that is communicated to all employees. If employers are monitoring internet usage they are required by law to make it clear that it is happening to all employees.
The consequences of drinking alcohol or being under the influence at work should be outlined to employees. There may be a clear no alcohol at work policy in place and the Euros can serve as timely