Employee Engagement

With the World Cup now in full swing it is important for business managers and owners to be aware of how the tournament may affect their workforce in the coming weeks. Although excitement around the competition can have a positive impact on employees, research by office stationary supplier Viking indicates that an increased number of holidays throughout the tournament may affect productivity.

To find out the likely impact on businesses, Viking surveyed 1,679 UK residents to uncover their plans for watching the World Cup. More than half of respondents plan to take at least one day off over the tournament to watch a game. Spread across the UK’s working population, this equals out to a massive 23,190,235 lost working days.

Based on the UK’s average hourly wage, this will cost UK businesses £2,424,536,069, almost double Tesco’s entire profits for 2017. The impact of this loss of working days and dramatic increase in money invested in paid leave in June will take its toll on profits across the World Cup period.

Most of those who plan to take time off will be using their holiday allowance, so absences will already be approved and budgeted for in company plans. Unapproved absences would only increase dramatically if England bring home the title, with 46% saying they would call in sick the next day.

Despite most absences across the World Cup coming from approved leave, the increased holiday usage will still affect business plans. Peak times for holiday absences ordinarily fall in August, over school summer holidays, and in December over Christmas. As such, low staff levels and lulls in productivity are expected and planned for at these times.

The World Cup may alter these plans, as holiday usage is pooled in June and early July, creating an unusual dip in productivity across the month, and reducing time off taken at usual peak times.

There are steps that managers and owners can take to limit the negative effects of the World Cup on their workforce, such as planning your workload around peak absence days. 12% of Viking’s survey respondents will take annual leave to watch England’s game against Belgium on 28th June, so perhaps avoid booking important meetings and setting deadlines for this day.

Consider allowing additional flexibility for your employees – long lunches, late starts and early finishes may help people manage work with watching the games. Allowing workers to watch or listen to games at their desks may also be a solution. Over two-thirds of people wouldn’t be less productive if thiswere allowed, and one third believe their output would be higher.

With these tips you can enjoy the World Cup without worrying about your workforce.

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