Are you fit for the World Cup?

Added On: 10th February 2010

Are you fit for the World Cup?

Almost inevitably whenever a major sporting event occurs, absence levels increase. So, with the World Cup in South Africa fast approaching, now is the time to plan for managing this increase and for dealing with any problems that occur. With the economy showing some slight signs of recovery, this is the worst time for you to find yourself dealing with increased costs or failing to meet customer demands and expectations as a result of staff absence.

The main reasons for increased absence in these circumstances are sickness and holidays. With the games in South Africa taking place in the afternoon or evening, it is likely that staff will either want to leave early, book half day holidays, or will fail to turn up the following day due to sickness.

There are plenty of things you can do to minimise and manage the impact – and starting NOW is essential if you are to be proactive and minimise disruption, rather than managing problems after they occur. Looked at positively, this could even provide an opportunity to improve morale, motivation and customer relationships.

Things to consider include:

- Review your business commitments for June/July and what they mean in
terms of attendance

- Communicate to staff that you are aware that some of them are likely to
want time off at this period, and that this will need to be managed so as
to ensure business, and their colleagues don’t suffer

- Provide a list of match dates to help them plan – readily available from
the Fifa world cup website –

- Remind staff of company requirements for booking holiday (and flexitime
if you operate such a system) – this might include minimum notice periods,
maximum numbers of staff absent at any time etc. – and say that you will
be adhering to these particularly for holiday requests during the period
of the tournament

- Consider whether you can temporarily allow some flexibility in working
hours for example,

o leaving early or coming in later than normal – as long as the time is
made up
o changing break times and screening the matches to allow staff to
watch the match on the premises

- Remind staff that absence will be continue to be monitored and any
increases in individual levels of absence or worrying patterns of absence
will be investigated, and appropriate action taken

It is also possible that you may face complaints from other staff who aren’t football fans or who don’t support England, that you are giving preferential treatment to a particular group of staff. It is unfortunate if they feel that way, but at the end of the day you are simply trying to manage your business during a period that – experience says – is likely to challenging. However, you don’t want to lose their goodwill and cooperation, so any complaints need to be handled well.