After a lot of doom and gloom in the news, the world’s biggest football tournament has just kicked off, and there is a buzz in the air for many!

But FOMS – Fear of Missing (not Something but) Scores could be the next buzzword! Leaders and HR managers get ready, as it’s expected that many football lovers will prioritise the tournament ahead of their jobs for the next few weeks.

Quickly check the scores!

HR and the World Cup

So how do we manage the potential disruption the World Cup 2022 may bring to the workplace?

Let’s get together

You may want to embrace the tournament, and use it as an engagement tool to increase motivation and boost morale. Arrange off-site meets with the rest of the team where you can watch the matches together. Use the opportunity for team building!

Relax your dress code, and let your staff wear football shirts. They’ll get to represent their team—or their favourite player—and embrace the spirit of the occasion.

Can you be operationally flexible? Can those weekly meetings be moved? Can you adjust core business activities? Then why not screen matches in the workplace, bringing your employees together?

Employees can use this time to switch off from the pressures of work. Your employees are bound to be less distracted if they can watch the matches. You should consider whether you really need to ask for the time back or not and if so make sure your communication is clear. We all love to know what the parameters are.

Remember that any decisions you make need to consider all employees. You want everyone to feel included.

Dealing with increased requests for work leave

You may have seen an increased number of holiday requests come through from your employees that want to take the time off to watch the matches – remember to follow your usual holiday process and treat all requests fairly and consistently.

If you cannot authorise requests, could you allow for flexibility around the usual working hours, perhaps start and finish earlier, or even allow people to work from home. If you offer flexible working, you need to open this up to all employees (football fans or not), you want to avoid any discrimination.

Dealing with sickness absence

Do you have a well-communicated Absence Management Policy? If you are already on top of your engagement activities and regularly monitor sickness absence, then you’ve probably got a head start here. We believe that employees who know that absence is managed are less likely to “pull a sickie” to enable them to watch their match.

Some things may be more difficult to manage

You may see a dip in productivity during the next few weeks! Now we can’t blame that all on the World Cup, there are other things going on in the world, however, you may find that employees are less work-focussed. You may find employees watching the matches on their own devices or work laptops etc.

You can take action to deal with misuse of company equipment and or excessive time-wasting if necessary.

Our overriding advice is to make your expectations clear to all employees and make sure any allowances are consistent. You may need to set out some ground rules to try and avoid any issues. It may also be a prompt for you to review your policies! You could always issue a Time off for Events Policy!

If you want to talk through workplace issues or need clear policies and procedures, get in touch with our HR experts.