Sporting Absence in the workplace
Published in the Peterborough Telegraph on the 1st July 2021
I have just listened to Jeremy Vine hosting a discussion on the topic of whether employers should give their staff the day off to watch the match against Germany in the European Football Championship, ‘Euros’. When this article is published the match will have taken place, and fingers crossed En-ger-land have won and are through to the quarter finals but we have still have the rest of the Euro’s, Wimbledon, motor sport, golf, Olympics, Paralympics … need I go on? And that’s only some of the mainstream sports. It raises a very good question, as now sporting activities are coming more to the fore, after a period of covid absence, how should employers be responding to employee’s interests in national and international sporting events?
Employers are sandwiched between having 16-month covid restrained employees, desperate to regain their ‘life’ balance on one hand and ‘work’ returning to ‘normal’ with organisations needing to remain focused and get back on financial track. What could a reasonable employer do?
Employees have their holiday entitlement that they can use. All employers have a formal request process but of course most organisations can only have a certain number of employees on holiday at the same time, to enable the business to continue operating.
To understand when there may be peaks of holiday requests, employers could create a plan around major sporting events and be proactive in informing employees the options that are available to them.
There are going to be employees that are not so keen on sport and may see themselves at a disadvantage because there is a plethora of other reasons why they would want their employer to provide additional time off, so it would be wise to expand the organisations ‘plan’ to incorporate other significant forthcoming events, e.g. religious festivals, music festivals, and of course the forthcoming Platinum Jubilee. Involving employees in what should go in the plan is a no-brainer.
There is also the consideration for employees whose roles are work location based, who are devoid of individual flexibility because of shift patterns and can’t start earlier or finish later. Could an area be set up on site to facilitate the watching of events and a fair process implemented for those who do want to watch and an alternative, comparable option for others?
Employers who embrace their employees ‘life’ within work, are surely going to be the champions!