The 2018 World Cup in Russia starts on 14 June and continues through to the World Cup Final on Sunday 15 July. Whilst employers will look to minimise disruption during working hours, it’s also a great opportunity to use the tournament to boost employee morale. 
 
If you have football fans amongst your workforce then they will really appreciate being able to watch the games, especially those involving their home countries. Read on for our top tips to help you manage the occasion. 
 
Decide on your approach to the tournament before it starts and let your employees know. 
 
Are you offering any flexible working arrangements during the period? For example, extended lunch times and/or allowing employees to leave work early as long as they make the time up elsewhere. 
 
What about annual leave requests? Are you able to offer additional holiday slots at short notice? Or perhaps people can swap shifts with colleagues who are not interested in the football. 
 
Will you be allowing employees to watch or listen to games during working time? If so, what are the arrangements for watching/listening to games? Will games be televised in communal/rest areas, or can employees watch/listen to games on their work PCs or their own mobile devices? 
 
Make sure you treat everyone the same. Don’t just cater for the England games, you must offer the same arrangements to fans from other countries taking part. 
 
Making special arrangements and informing employees what the approach will be can have a real positive impact on employees’ morale. It can also reduce the risk of unauthorised absences, which are much harder to manage on the day. 
 
It’s also important to set out standards of behaviour expected during the tournament. You should make it clear that antagonistic or racist comments will not be tolerated, nor will disruptive behaviour. It is unusual for disciplinary issues to arise as a result of watching this type of event. However, if an employee does misbehave then make sure to take the appropriate action. 
 
Other options include allowing employees to wear their football shirts to work, putting up national flags in the workplace, allowing people to bring in typical food eaten in their home country and making a real celebration of the event. 
 
If handled well, sporting events bring people together and create a fantastic atmosphere, which benefits both the employee and employer and has a real positive impact on employee engagement. 
 
 
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