Tips on how to manage employees during the World Cup 2018

The 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia starts in Moscow on Thursday 14th June and finishes on 15 July, providing a month of football excitement for many people across the UK.

The World Cup is a major sporting event and many employees will want to support their favourite team and enjoy watching the live matches. All football matches will be aired between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. and some staff may wish to take annual leave to watch these matches. Others may prefer to use the internet or their phones to stay updated on match news and results. Whatever approach is taken, it’s important for employers to plan ahead in order to minimise the impact on business productivity.

Here are our top employer tips to encourage employees to enjoy the World Cup with minimum disruption to your business.

Screen matches at work

One approach is to screen the games on a TV or projector screen at work and use the occasion as a team building opportunity. This way, nobody has to take time off whilst at the same time improving company morale.

If you are thinking about this, it’s important to gauge the interest of employees and be mindful of others. It’s also important to offer the same concession to all employees who wish to watch fixtures from their chosen country.

Any company considering this option should be aware that you need a TV licence or a licence from the Performing Rights Society for radio use.

Allow flexible working

Another option is to introduce flexible working practices as a short-term measure, during the month when the world cup is on.

Let employees leave early to watch sporting fixtures, and then agree when this time can be made up e.g. they can start earlier, finish later or a combination of both on the same or another day during that week.

Other flexible approaches include allowing staff to swap shifts (with management permission) and allowing staff to take breaks when the matches are on.

If you are considering adopting a flexible approach, it’s important to make sure that any change in hours or change to working hours should be agreed before the event.

Use annual leave

Our third top tip is to invite staff to book annual leave. Encourage staff to book holidays with sufficient notice if they want to watch certain matches. This will help plan ahead for any staff shortages.

If there are too many employees wanting annual leave at the same time, the company may wish to adopt a first-come-first-serve basis or speak to the employees and work together on arriving at an agreement that suits everyone.

Have clear policies and guidelines

Be clear about unauthorised absences and alcohol in the workplace and remind your employers of these.

During the World Cup period, sickness policies adopted by the business should be implemented fairly and a consistent approach adopted for everyone. It is advisable to make staff aware of these policies so that, should any unauthorised absences occur, the resulting action is known about.

It is worthwhile keeping an eye out for high levels of sickness, late attendance or lower productivity rates, all of which should be dealt with in accordance with company guidelines.

Be clear about alcohol in the workplace and any disciplinary procedures arising from drinking during working hours and coming in to work under the influence.

Disciplinary Procedures

In all the excitement of the World Cup, employees may need to be reminded about disciplinary procedures and how to behave in the work environment. If an employee is not performing as they should be or is not following company procedure, firstly give them an informal approach to let them know. If an incident such as alcohol in the workplace has taken place the next step is to form an investigation if anything comes from the investigation the next stage would be to inform the employee and get other peoples version of events. A hearing would then take place with the employee and employer and may end up with a warning either written or verbally.

Review your internet policy

During this period, you should expect an increased use of sporting websites and social networking sites with staff wanting to keep up-to-date with match results and team progress. It also provides a good opportunity to remind staff of your social media policies and be clear what is acceptable and what isn’t whilst in the workplace.

It is up to you to decide whether you’re happy for your employees to keep track of matches online. It might cause less disruption than people taking time off, but it is also worth bearing in mind that, if staff are streaming live sporting fixtures on a company-owned computer, you will need a TV licence.


If you are unsure about any of your workplace policies or you need us to help you with your employment policies and keep you up to date with regulation and compliance changes for business you can register for our regular email updates or contact us to go through your options and to discuss how we can help you.