World Cup Staff Sickies!

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So the World Cup has finally started and hopes for the English team are higher than they have been in years.  Many people will be doing their utmost to avoid all mention of football over the coming weeks, but for the rest of us, the games will be providing a constant distraction.

A survey before the 2010 South Africa World Cup found that 32% of fans in England would consider pulling a 'sickie' in order to watch an important match.  Unfortunately, this sort of behaviour can have a detrimental effect on your business, so employers are constantly trying to find ways of offering a fair compromise to their footie fan staff members.

The fact that this World Cup is taking place in Russia means that many games are taking place at 1900GMT, and luckily most of the England matches will get this evening slot – but for the afternoon matches, employees taking time off could pose a problem.

There are various options available to employers keen to tackle this.  Staff can claim holiday allowance, tweak their shift patterns, or change their working hours.  In some cases, you can even consider showing a game in the office, but you must carefully weigh up the issues this could cause with productivity.  One thing that should definitely be discouraged, is attempts by staff members to stream matches onto their computers.  Doing this on the sly is almost certainly a breach of contract, but it also slows down a network, and has far reaching implications on data protection and broadcasting rights. 

Thankfully, the impact of this sort of event is becoming less and less due to the increase of cloud technology solutions which allow for flexible working.  This is important, as a different survey found that flexible working hours would discourage 35% of football fans from taking time off.  Meanwhile, 30% would be enticed by the option of working from home.  Of course, these aren't always viable options for every business, but they are definitely worth investigating.

We know of Xero users who have submitted tax returns from a boat, or checked their accounts from halfway up a mountain.  These days, being away from the office does not mean being away from your work.

If you have any business queries, feel free to get in touch, – we'd love to help our fellow SBS winners get the most out of their staff.  Alternatively, if you have specific questions about employment law, we can strongly recommend our friends and clients at Sekoya Specialist Employment Services. 

Thanks for reading! 


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