HR Expert: Ways to manage staff during the World Cup
I have had a number of clients approach me about the world cup, and how they will manage their staff during it, especially as some of the matches will be held during the working day. What advice can I give them?

The FIFA Men’s World Cup kicks off on 20 November, ending with the final on December 18 2022. 32 nations from the across the globe will be playing in the tournament, taking place in Qatar. As each nation will play at least 3 matches, even if they do not progress beyond the group stages, the potential for disruption for your clients are high.

We would recommend your clients review what they already have in place, such as a pre-existing sporting events policy. If there is not one in place already, now is the time to develop and implement it. A policy of this nature will enable your client to clearly outline how they expect their staff to behave during the event, and outline any steps they are taking to enable employees to watch or discuss any of the matches.

The time difference between Qatar and GMT is + 3 hours, which means some of the matches will be played live during the day in the UK, and a number of games will be played in the week during regular business hours, which could mean that employees will ask for time off, or seek to try and adjust their working hours for the day in another way. Your client should remind employees that the usual holiday rules apply, and be consistent in how they apply these. Making employees aware of this well ahead of time will enable them to make plans accordingly.

Your client should also be aware that staff may become distracted during matches as they attempt to keep up to date with the action, which could have a negative impact on productivity. They can also ban the use of mobile phones and the visiting of external sites during working hours, however the impact this could have on staff morale could have a more damaging effect on productivity than allowing interested employees to follow a match.

To mitigate this, they could provide updates for their employees, such as goal information. One favourable method would be to nominate an individual to periodically check on the scores and inform colleagues of any significant developments. Alternatively, your client may consider placing a TV in the staff room and allow employees to watch the games during designated break times. Whilst the latter may help boost workplace morale, your client should consider the risk of staff taking extended or unauthorised breaks to keep up with the action.

World Cups are often revered for their ability to promote a sense of fandom and national pride, however, your client mustn’t allow passions to get out of hand and ensure the workplace remains a welcoming and safe environment for all. Your client should also be wary of staff making offensive sexist remarks during the tournament, ensuring there is an appropriate reporting procedure in place and that instances of harassment are handled seriously.

As with any sporting event, your client needs to find the balance that works best for them and their organisation, however having the appropriate procedures in place beforehand will certainly help alleviate any concerns when it comes to managing staff during the World Cup.



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HR Expert: Ways to manage staff during the World Cup