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The World Cup – a business survival guide

8 Mins

The time difference in Brazil is certainly likely to hit staff productivity as bleary-eyed colleagues stumble into work, not quite up to match fitness.

So how can any business end up with a winner’s medal rather than losing on penalties?

In the spirit of World Cup article clichés and stretched analogies everywhere – here is my 11-point team guide to help any business survive the World Cup….and remember these could really make a difference between football success and failure.

The Goalkeeper

1.Don’t bury your head in the sand (never a good goalkeeping tactic).

The World Cup is here, you know it, your staff know it…

So tackle it head on. Communicate your policy to your team in advance. Then make sure you show you mean business – especially enforcing the policy in the early days of the tournament

Check your staff come in when they say they will – with yellow cards and warnings for early offenders to keep the rest of your team in line. Make it known you will follow up on anybody claiming they can’t come to work with the excuse of feeling ‘as sick as a parrot’.

The Defence

Any goalkeeper needs a good defence to keep a clean sheet. So here are some tips to defend against staff falling offside with the business.

2. Team work

The secret to a good defence is team work…

Remember, not everyone is a football fan and not everybody supports England. Encourage your team to work in shifts to cover each other. Not only will it make sure business gets done during the World Cup, it can encourage team bonding. Team members are also less likely to let each other down if other colleagues are relying on them – even if extra time means less time in bed.

3. Make a holiday of it

Encourage sports mad workers to officially book time off around key games, rather than unofficially turn up late. Be as flexible as you can – with perhaps time off in half-day chunks. Another option is to offer this to a fixed number of employees on a first-come, first-serve basis or even by ballot – so that you are fair about it, but still get enough people in when you need them. Played in the right way this approach could be fun and motivating.

4. Flexi-time can flex your relationship with staff

Allow staff to work flexi-time during the tournament – working late or coming in early on non-match days to make up for agreed time off for the key games.

5. Penalties for poor performance

The ultimate defence. If people are late or don’t follow the rules you could apply anything from financial to disciplinary penalties. This only works if you have been very open and clear upfront about your policy and rules and the consequences of breaking them. In other words, you need to be honest and open with your staff and expect them to be the same.

This said, any stick probably works best with a carrot – and that is where more forward-thinking options come in….

The Midfield

Midfielders are the engine for any team – and you want staff to be motivated and continue to work hard for you during the World Cup. So here are some key tactics to get the best results.

6. Reward staff for good performance

If staff work hard, turn up on time, don’t let you down – then pat them on the back with a reward. If a team works well together, reward the team. Earning rewards or getting a bonus can be the ultimate antidote to football fever.

7. Set some goals in advance

By outlining clear objectives and goals, and getting staff to work together to achieve these, you can turn the World Cup into a major staff positive. For example, set projects and let staff know that if they are done well, individuals or the team can take time off to watch the World Cup. If staff score these goals it is good for them and good for the business.

8. Meet in the middle

Arrange staff meetings, presentations or client meetings around key games rather than slap bang in the middle of them. Use technology and conference calls if necessary. Show some thought and care to get staff to care about the business.

9. Late call

As the tournament progresses and a crucial game really does go on late (and penalty nightmares ensue…) then let staff know they can have a late pass if they promise to work late. In other words, play it by ear as the World Cup progresses and you could hear some great feedback from your team.

The Strikers

If you strike in the right way then you can really get the team behind you (rather than staff going on a World Cup strike).

10. Lead from the front

Don’t forget the most important position – the manager. You can make match days team days. Put a TV viewing area in the office. Organise some fun events around key matches. Have team-building competitions and a bit of fun to generate some real team spirit.

If you know your team, you will know what is right at the right time. Judge the mood. Bring on substitute ideas if necessary – especially if by some miracle England progress beyond the quarter finals…

11. Go for all-out attack

Come on, the World Cup is only once every four years. Embrace it with a bit of Brazilian spirit. Take your staff out to watch the game. Buy a round of caipirinhas and go with the flow. You could end up being the true World Cup hero – and motivate staff for months or years afterwards.

Right, better kick on. Oh, didn’t I tell you…I’m just off to the World Cup for a week to see the boys in white give the rest of the world a fright. Point number 12 – if you can’t beat them join them…

Andy Yates is an experienced entrepreneur, adviser for a portfolio of fast growing businesses and investor-director at Huddlebuy.co.uk – Europe’s largest daily money-saving site for small businesses.

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