David Webb: What can employers do to support World Cup football fans at work?

David Webb

Who would be a football manager? Well, like it or not, a lot of employees are planning to be one over the next few weeks during the World Cup, from 14 June to 15 July 2018.

That includes employees being organised enough to ask their boss in good time for time off to watch a game or games, and managers making arrangements so at least some staff can watch if possible.

Still, it has to be borne firmly in mind that employees still have to get their jobs done so that the organisation continues to perform. That means, for example, that maybe not all requests to watch a game can be approved. But there can be options; for instance, if there is a lot of interest, employees might go on a rota to take it in turns to watch games.

An employer might consider that being flexible like this, and trying to accommodate employees’ requests where possible, can bring its own benefits.

For example, I remember a past World Cup where my employer at the time agreed that staff and managers who were interested should set up a rota so some come in one hour early and others finish one hour later, so they could all take an extended break to watch key games. The firm also brought in a very large TV.

The upshot was employees bonding more than ever, building a sense of togetherness and team spirit. Perhaps it was no coincidence that that firm went on to win major awards.

Another comforting thought is that the England group stage games on Monday 18 June and Thursday 28 June are both in the evening, while the other is on a Sunday at lunchtime on 24 June. So not too much of a clash with the workplace there after all.

David Webb is an advice writer at employment relations specialist Acas