The country is in dire financial straits and businesses cannot afford a major interruption to their trading.Unlike the extreme snow earlier this year or the recent volcanic ash-cloud fiasco, we’ve known this tournament has been coming since the day England qualified for the finals. Sporting events like this, and in particular football, do throw a huge curveball at businesses because they have the ability to affect even the most conscientious employee when they get a dose of World Cup fever. A flurry of advice and surveys have been issued by business organisations spreading fear and doom that the country will grind to a halt during the tournament. This may be the case for any business that hasn’t done any planning, but, like with most things, applying a little common sense can go along way. Any firm that’s only just starting to think about this issue in the week before the big kick off will struggle. Employers have to be clear with their staff that unplanned absences will not be tolerated and taking a sickie on a matchday or, even worse, to recover from the post-match celebrations will be dealt with as they would be at any other time of the year. But, by putting in place a few measures like organised flexible working, shift swap schemes and having TVs in communal areas to show the games, businesses can ensure employees can make the most of the World Cup without compromising the needs of the firm. While businesses have no obligation to cater for employees’ desire to watch the World Cup, it does present an opportunity to boost morale among workers who have been affected by the recession. I think it’s important that employers take the view that the World Cup provides an excellent opportunity to increase goodwill among employees and not just a potential menace to productivity. Hopefully, the World Cup will create a strong feel good factor and businesses that embrace the tournament have the perfect opportunity to build stronger relationships with their staff. Our canteen at Pimlico Plumbers will become a World Cup destination for our guys who are between jobs and shifts. We’ll be showing all the games and I’m sure there’ll be an excellent atmosphere around the place. This morale booster will also be felt across the whole population and it has been predicted there will be a £2 billion spending spree if England do well – and if we win it will be even better.
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