15 June 2018 by

How to tackle low World Cup productivity

It was estimated that during the last World Cup held in South Africa,  British productivity suffered to the tune of £7.2 billion!

The FIFA World Cup isn’t the only sporting spectacle this summer which attracts a crowd; Wimbledon and the Tour-de-France are both on the horizon. Often employers are unsure about how to respond to the desire of employees to follow a major sporting event or Royal occasion live on TV or on their electronic devices.  What then should employers do to limit the impact on productivity?

Two approaches

There are essentially two broad approaches. Adopt a “business as usual” approach or apply some flexibility and allow staff to watch some of the live coverage.  The best advice is that whatever the approach  taken, there needs to be clarity.

Clarity is key

If employees are allowed to watch any of the matches but you will require them to make the time up, say so.  If you are going to take a “business as usual” approach make it clear that any breach of normal rules will be dealt with as a disciplinary issue, or accept that there may be some disruption on occasion.


A more relaxed approach, if handled correctly, will not always result in a dramatic fall in productivity and there may be other benefits worth thinking about. Many employees love to follow major sporting events, and enabling them to do so can be a great (cost) effective way of increasing employee morale and getting everyone to work together. Your staff will appreciate the effort and may work harder moving forwards.

So, if you want to embrace the summer of sport, below are some suggestions that some of our clients have told us about which capitalise on employee engagement and motivation by getting colleagues together and turns a potential loss of productivity into a big “win.”

  • Wimbledon tennis on a large TV in a meeting room or communal area.
  • Provide “added extras” – strawberries for tennis, pizza and crisps for football.
  • Watching the odd game in the pub (with alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks) or the suggestion to leave work early, so it can be enjoyed at home. Even if the flexibility is there already – it works wonders for staff morale.
  • Run a workplace sweepstake, whereby your employees pick a team from a hat or perhaps a social with a Russian theme!
  • Perhaps offer your non-sporting employees a perk too!

For those of you not wanting to embrace Russia 2018, the good news is that England’s group games appear to have been scheduled outside of office hours. With England not tipped to advance past the quarter finals, the World Cup fever might be short lived!

Whichever approach you decide to adopt, remember you need to be clear and communicate the policy with employees so that everyone knows where they stand.

If you have any queries regarding this article or if you have any workplace needs, please contact one of our Employment Solicitors here.

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