Football and Absence – Euro2016

Thoughts on football and absence…

Well, it’s Wednesday morning and the first day of the CIPD HR Software Show at Kensington Olympia. Come along and see us at stand H301 (we’re on the right just as you come in).

We’re expecting a good turnout today – particularly as we know that from lunchtime onwards tomorrow nobody is going to care about work and will either be taking time off or skiving off to watch the England – Wales football match.

That got me thinking that (as usual around big sporting events) it is time to let employers know the difficulties they face and I sincerely hope that they have put adequate plans in place to deal with this issue. Imagine Wales winning and consider how few people will show up for work in Cardiff, Swansea or Aberystwyth on Friday…

Football and Absence

We know that football and absence go hand in hand and that is why it’s surprising that so few companies have put plans in place to deal with it. It’s not as if it’s entirely unexpected as there’s a European or World Cup every two years.

Yesterday the Evening Standard contained an article in which it warned that London was likely to lose 10% of its daily economic output – or around £100 million in real terms. Just imagine what the total figure across the UK is likely to be. Is your business likely to be hit? What plans have put in place to cope with expected and unexpected absences? What about all of the other games played by the Home Nations? How much will they cost you? And what happens if any of England, Wales, or Northern Ireland progress to the knockout stages? Well, at least the last one is looking unlikely based on the evidence of their first match in the tournament, but it’s a fair bet the other two (along with the Republic of Ireland) will be able to get out of their groups and fight for another day.

If you haven’t already done so, now is definitely the time to (hastily) put together your plan for how to deal with the absences during Euro 2016. So what can you do?

Consider allowing your employees to watch the game at work
Several banks in the City of London will be showing the England – Wales game on screens (with the volume turned down). Would this work at your offices? Do you already have screens in place you can utilise? You can also use a canteen or large meeting room to host an event for your employees that could do wonders for morale (irrespective of what the result might end up being ;-)).

Make sure that you have adequate cover
If your business is dependent on manpower and you therefore need to have a certain amount of people at work make sure that you are covered with whatever replacements you might need. Also, find out who you know will be at work and see if that will be enough to see you through.

Communicate with your employees
Open and honest communication will ALWAYS lead to a better work environment. Explain your policies and attitudes to the football very clearly and encourage your employees to be honest with you. It is much better for somebody to e.g. take half an unpaid day off than calling in sick.

Make sure that policies are adhered to
It’s football, not force majeure. Therefore it is fine to remind staff of your absence policies and let them know that you will be tracking it. If an employee ends up taking time off unexpectedly and trips a trigger to cause an absence review meeting then so be it.

Other than that, I can just say I hope you enjoy the game and don’t get too upset when your team gets knocked out. At an irreverent football web site back during the World Cup 98 in France they used to run banner ads spoofing Coca-Cola’s football related slogan at the time and it ended up being this: “Eat Football. Sleep Football. Drink Twelve Pints to Forget About It!” I hope that won’t be the case for you :-).

If you need any help in setting up your absence management policies and implementing a proper absence and holiday management recording and reporting solution, have a look at either our self-service solution,, or our full Day 1 absence management (with call centre) solution. Read more about Day 1 absence management at Honeydew Health.