Employment relations advisory body Acas has warned business owners and employees to be as flexible as possible when it comes to football matches scheduled during working hours during the forthcoming UEFA European Championship.
England will play Wales at 2pm on Thursday 16 June, while reigning champions Italy will face Sweden at the same time the next day, making it likely that employers will see higher levels of holiday requests or distracted workers as employees struggle to catch key fixtures.
Acas has suggested business leaders relax restrictions on booking annual leave, but also warns workers that they will also need to be flexible to ensure firms can still function. Allowing employees to start and finish work at flexible times, take breaks during matches or have the TV on while they work are also mooted in the organisation’s new guide.
“The Euro 2016 tournament is an exciting event for many football fans but staff should avoid getting a red card for unreasonable demands or behaviour in the workplace during this period,” said chairman Brendan Barber.
“Many businesses need to maintain a certain staffing level in order to survive. Employers should have a set of simple workplace agreements in place before kick off to help ensure their businesses remain productive whilst keeping staff happy too,” he added.
The guidance also reminds employers planning on monitoring employee internet usage that workers must be informed of this.
Research carried out by Oliver Myles Marketing in the build-up to the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil found that 50 per cent of employers expected the event to increase worker performance by creating goodwill – though one-in-five were worried about productivity.
A survey of 1,0000 managers carried out by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) in the aftermath of the 2012 Olympic Games in London found that four-in-ten of those who had allowed staff to watch the event in the office thought it had boosted output.
Micro businesses owners expecting to benefit from the football include the owners of pubs, restaurants and bars. The British Beer and Pub Association estimated that 21m extra pints were consumed during England’s first three games in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The outcome of the group stage of the tournament is also poised to impact the nation’s voting behaviour on 23 June.
“If England, Wales or Northern Ireland have won their group, then it will make people feel good about being part of Europe,” Mark Perryman, founder of Football Philosophy, told the BBC. “If they come home early, people will ask, ‘Do we really want to part of this continent?'”
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