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The FIFA Women’s World Cup officially kicks off on Friday 7 June with twenty-four nations competing to take home the prize. The month long tournament may present a challenge when it comes to managing staff during the working day and organisations should consider the following steps to ensure productivity levels remain high.

Sporting events policy

During this time, it would be ideal if organisations are able to rely on an existing policy covering sporting events. These can be used to outline their stance on a variety of issues, including whether any concessions will be made to accommodate staff during the tournament. It is also worth assuming that some individuals may be unfamiliar with this policy given that such major sporting events do not come around that often. Therefore, it would be wise to remind staff of any changes that will apply during the tournament.

Workplace distractions

Kick-off times will vary, however a number of games will be played during regular business hours. Staff may become distracted during these times as they attempt to keep up to date with the action, which could have a negative impact on productivity. To mitigate this, it is wise to keep an eye out for anyone using their mobile phones and even consider blocking internet access or access to certain websites on workplace IT equipment for relevant periods. Alternatively, some organisations may take a more favourable approach by allowing managers to make staff aware of the scores or even placing a TV in the staff room and allowing staff to watch the games during designated break times.

Requests for time off

Some staff may submit a flexible working request or annual leave requests on short notice during the tournament to enable them to have time off work to watch the matches. Whilst organisations have a duty to consider flexible working requests they may be refused under a number of prescribed reasons. Requests for annual leave may also be dismissed if the appropriate notice is not given. However, it is worth accommodating these requests where possible in order to maintain positive employee relations.

Bullying and harassment 

World Cups are often revered for their ability to promote a sense of fandom and national pride, however your organisations mustn’t allow passions to get out of hand and ensure the workplace remains a welcoming and safe environment for all. Organisations should also be wary of staff making offensive sexist remarks during the tournament, ensuring there is an appropriate grievance reporting procedure in place and that instances of harassment are handled seriously.

Further information:

  • How to manage employees during sporting events– how to guide
  • Policy on concessions granted for watching/attending a sporting or special event of national importance - model document