Grab golden opportunity to be more flexible employer

Absence? What absence? When firms have followed the advice, tips and tricks often published in employee benefits magazines on subjects such as diversity and flexible working, then there is no reason for employees to have a World Cup sickie.

By now, organisations should treat employees as adults and respect that the most popular religion for 2006 will be football.

Of course, there are the gloomy surveyors who claim that £4bn will be lost in productivity (, 5 June), or £100m a day, chants another worthy survey. The fact is most employees have the ability to use informal or formal flexible working arrangements to manage their time around football matches, as they would for any other domestic reason.

Absence from work is as likely for domestic reasons as it is sickness – so why discriminate now and stop employees enjoying themselves? The fixture list for the World Cup only has nine games starting at 3pm and eight games starting at 4pm; all the other 43 games kick off at 5pm or later. So, I ask, where is the problem?

Workers are given time off to go the vet, dentist or doctor – why not add football to the list?

The best advice is to be flexible and open-minded and treat employees with respect. The World Cup will lift the spirits of the UK. We should embrace it and enjoy it.

Paul Roberts
Strategic director,

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