The World Cup – keep calm and carry on?

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First, a confession. I am more a devotee of the oval-shaped ball game, although my childhood loyalty to Everton FC still exercises a very strong pull. Secondly, I apologise for employing the over-used ‘keep calm’ device in the title - but it really does neatly sum up my attitude.

Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you can’t have failed to notice that the World Cup starts this week - on Thursday, 12 June. 

And you will also probably have seen a positive deluge of advice from various organisations about how to handle the various ‘workplace issues’ that may arise. 

Now call me an old cynic (and I am both), but could this possibly have more to do with marketing departments than any actual likelihood of workplace problems? (Similarly at Christmas party time I do groan at the warnings of impending employee relations doom that always seem to appear.) After all, most games kick off in late afternoon or in the evening UK time - see the useful timings summary for all games on the BBC website. Perhaps most employees are thinking ‘at least I can enjoy the World Cup without having to book any leave’?

Maybe we should we be seeing this as a celebration of our national sport and not getting too het up about ‘issues’ that may never in fact arise? Most die-hard supporters are going to have planned their time off well ahead of the tournament and you’ll probably already have accommodated them.

Yes, some allowances may have to be made for those on night shifts. And yes, there will be some (probably a very small minority) who will have over-indulged the night before and for whom arriving at work on time the next day may be an issue.

But surely with a common sense, non-stentorian management approach, all such ‘issues’ can be relatively easily handled? Do we really need to throw another ‘policy at this? Perhaps instead a bit of flexibility on start and finish times might be an idea? Or just a simple note/email to staff gently reminding them of the company rules on one-off absences?

You never know, taking a celebratory approach to the World Cup might just boost employee morale. Or am I just being desperately naive?


 

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