Few companies have plans for World Cup absentees

Sixty-four
per cent of employees intend to watch World Cup games which are broadcast
during working hours, according to a survey by Deloitte & Touche Human
Capital.

But
77 per cent of UK companies lack employee policies for the event. The survey
asked 100 HR directors of FTSE 500 companies how they intend to tackle the
demand from employees to watch the matches, and questioned 527 employees across
the UK on their plans for the games shown during office hours.

Of
those employees planning to watch the games, 31 per cent will do so illicitly,
following via the internet, TV or radio.

Eight
per cent intend to call in sick in order see important games. Yet 87 per cent
of HR directors said they believe the World Cup will not impact on absenteeism.

Jon
Clark, Human Capital consultant at Deloitte & Touche, said: "It is
worrying that so few HR directors have established a formal policy to manage
the obvious demand to watch the World Cup. If one employee in 10 calls in sick,
it could cause severe disruption to business. 
HR directors need to tackle the problem before it happens by having a
clearly communicated policy."

Of
those organisations that do have a clear World Cup policy, the most popular
option (28 per cent) is to allow employees to follow on a big screen or on the
internet,. Fifteen per cent of companies said they will ask employees to use
flexitime.

Flexitime
is a popular option for employees, with 21 per cent hoping to change their
normal working hours in order to watch the games.

Clark
said HR’s focus must still be on the needs of the business, rather than just
responding to employee demands, and said that flexitime would provide the best
solution.

"Those
who are not allowed to watch might be resentful, leading to reduced
productivity. Those who are not interested may question why an exception is
being made for football fans and will ask why their employer does not have a
flexible working policy that caters for their needs."

Workers
who hit the pub to watch the game may also run foul of bosses. Ninety-four per
cent of HR directors said they would not allow employees to return to work
after drinking, whilst 5 per cent said they would turn a blind eye if employees
had only had one or two drinks.

Of
those employees watching games, 13 per cent plan to attend work after they have
been drinking.

Clark
said: "HR directors should not forget that football and drinking can go
hand in hand. All should have alcohol and drug policies that give clear
guidance on how to manage this situation linked to health and safety in
particular. It should be absolutely clear if drinking at work in not acceptable
in their policies for allowing employees to watch the World Cup."

www.deloitte.co.uk

How
employees plan to watch the World Cup

Follow
on the radio                   46%    
Follow on TV                           23%    
Follow on the internet               10%    
Use flexitime                             21%    
Use holiday                              14%    
Call in sick                                8%      

How
HR directors will allow employees to watch the World Cup

Flexitime/make
up hours                                   15%    
TV/Radio/Internet in office                                28%    
Watch without having to make up hours            4%      
Treat as normal working day                             21%    
Watch in break only                                          12%    
Discretion of manager                                       4%      
Must take holiday                                             4%      

By Quentin Reade

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