Shoot & score with your flexible working policy during the World Cup 2014

by 01 Jul 2014
As the World Cup enters its final stages, Eric Wong outlines how employers can create a celebratory mood while still maintaining productivity.

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals fast approaching, Australians are already planning how they can ensure they don’t miss any second of the action. The time difference between Brazil and Australia, however, means that highlight games will be aired during the day, leaving many World Cup lovers having to watch reruns after work. But how far would extremely dedicated fans go to watch the game live? Are they planning to skip work to watch the game live? How can employers make sure their staff is still being productive and efficient?

While many Australian organisations have flexible working policies in place, we can expect to see more employees take advantage of this opportunity during the World Cup.

According to legal firm DLA Piper, 51% of employers are investigating the option of flexible working for staff during the World Cup in Brazil. Globally, employers are open about their flexible working practices, some of which have been specially devised to allow staff to watch World Cup matches. For example, McDonalds is facilitating shift swapping as part of its initiative, which eight in 10 of its employees are set to take advantage of.

HR leaders know that one of the most common workplace issues that can arise during events like the World Cup is increased absenteeism. During the last World Cup in South Africa, unplanned time off jumped 42.5% on the day of England’s World Cup group match against Algeria. Knowing this, many employees are providing flexible working options to reduce and avoid workplace absences.

For those organisations planning to implement flexible working scenarios during the World Cup, there are a few important things to consider:
  • For employees still coming into the office, you need to have clearly thought through your acceptable internet usage policy, and made your staff aware of it. Only 18% of businesses have ensured this. Do you have available bandwidth for your team to stream their team’s games over your network?
  • If you’re going to allow your staff to work from home, think about how they are going to stay productive - what technology do they need? Video conferencing is a key element to a flexible working strategy, making flex-workers more productive. A range of software and apps makes this available on desktops, laptops, tablets & smartphones
  • What World Cup teams do your employees support? Don’t assume that all of your employees will support the national team of your company’s location. Remember to be inclusive and support flexible working throughout the tournament, to avoid discriminating against employees with differing nationalities
  • The World Cup can be a great team-bonding experience, with fans coming together to enjoy the spectacle. If you plan on encouraging this on site, make sure you have a clear and available policy regarding celebrations
  • Maintaining team collaboration is important, especially when some team members are off-site. This can be done through fun initiatives (such as a World Cup sweepstake), as well as using collaboration technology to maintain productivity when working on shared documents

The World Cup is a great opportunity to allow employees to support their team, as well as ensuring maintained productivity through flexible working initiatives. Whether continuing to develop an existing policy, or enabling teams to work flexibly for the first time, it’s important to consider the impact that the tournament will have on your employees and workflow. By following the simple steps above, the World Cup can actually be a great chance to improve job satisfaction and build loyalty with employees, by enabling them to enjoy this sporting event through a flexible working initiative. 

About the author
Eric Wong is head of talent acquisition & development, Polycom Asia Pacific


  • by Mimi Chen 30/07/2014 5:21:37 PM

    It all depends on the culture and the environment of the company you come from. If the company is on the high tech side, it is unquestionable that all the points offered by the author in the articles would work well. But this doesn't apply to a financial sector.