Can your company handle World Cup fever?

The football world is in a frenzy with the upcoming World Cup in Brazil about to kick off. Shops are full of paraphernalia and nations are bracing themselves for the impending drama on and off the pitch.

Having been on maternity leave during the London 2012 Olympics, the challenges of managing employee expectations in-house about what people could or should be allowed to watch/follow at work passed me by.

worldcupbrazilI’ve had numerous conversations over the years and tackled employee requests and company negotiations about Wimbledon, cricket, Rugby, you name it, there’s always something that captures national and international sporting imaginations.

So is providing opportunities for employees to watch along a waste of time or a good opportunity to highlight what a flexible employer you are?

I’ve worked in places where the tennis matches at Wimbledon were shown on large screens across multiple locations and strawberries and cream cracked open, to make the most of the atmosphere. Equally, I’ve worked in places where such things were frowned on (which left employees creatively finding ways to access live updates via their own devices).

Desk-side seats
According to telecoms providers Coms plc in a survey to 100 CEOs and decision makers, nearly three-quarters of UK businesses will provide a communal area for employees to watch World Cup 2014 matches played during working hours.

An additional 19 per cent of the people they surveyed said they will allow employees to watch the games at their desks. As the tournament is in Brazil, the equivalent times will be 5pm, 9pm and 11pm kick offs.

Clearly, for many companies the idea of providing access is just not possible, particularly people in frontline roles for example.

Is this a problem you’re currently facing? What are you doing in your company? As ever you’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC. I’d love to know what your organisation is doing and any top tips you’d like to share with other comms pros.

This week I spotted an article written by Aaron Baines from Headlines agency and they’ve kindly allowed me to republish it here on this exact topic. You can find them on Twitter @Headlinescomms. Over to you Aaron…

The World Cup – widely regarded as the greatest sporting event on earth – is nearly here.

Experts estimate the 2014 tournament in Brazil could cost the UK 250 million working hours through staff absence, late arrivals and poor performance due to frustration at not being able to keep up with games .(Tweet this)

So how can businesses ensure employees aren’t distracted and continue to produce good results during this summer’s festival of football?

Flexibility is key
One company that has seen the benefits of a more relaxed approach is the Tenet Group, one of the largest advisor support groups in the UK.

On 30 May 2014, employees downed tools during working hours to watch the BBC’s ‘World Cup Rewind’, which replayed the 1966 World Cup final between England and West Germany as if it was live.

During the 2010 World Cup, the firm’s employees were given the opportunity to leave work to watch England matches – and they will be given the option again this summer should matches fall within working hours.

The company realises the importance of having happy employees and believes its flexibility promotes a healthy workforce, spreading a feel-good factor throughout the organisation.

Furthermore, a recent survey conducted by office supplies group Viking also revealed that social activity is more important to employees than a pay rise.

Viking surveyThe survey, which went out to more than 1,000 employees in businesses of no more than 50 employees, found a monthly get-together would improve communication while relieving stress.

It would also increase the longevity of employees and encourage collaboration – leading to a possible 13 per cent increase in happiness.

Perhaps most tellingly, the thought of a £5,000 salary raise prompted a mere two per cent increase in happiness.

Sophie Christopher, head of events, PR and external marketing at Viking, stressed employers needed to grasp the nettle – and understand financial remuneration isn’t necessarily the most important matter on workers’ minds.

She said: “Social events can be of great benefit to employers in promoting friendship, loyalty and communication within a team.

“These strong relationships can in turn increase the longevity of staff and improve their ability to collaborate within an office environment.

“This is definitely an issue that should be given additional weight when considering how to improve workplace morale.”

Post author: Aaron Baines.

Thanks Aaron. Do let me know what you think of this or any other article on my blog. You can comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.



Recent articles on my blog you may have missed:

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A focus on: All things employee engagement.


  1. Andy Johnson says:

    Great post Rachel/Aaron.

    To get that work/personal life balance right I feel you need to have positive distractions – those things that take you away from what you’re doing, for just a short moment of time, and allow you to come back more positive and refreshed and to; ‘get back to it!’.

    I find that social media, and a love of football, allows me to just that so myself and a colleague of mine Gav Chahal (@IAmGavChahal) are utilising world cup fever as a great opportunity to widen our UK Housing network by setting up a World Cup Fantasy Football League for housing professionals – and it even has it’s own twitter handle:

    So our question isn’t so much “Can your company handle World Cup fever?” but more like “Can UK Housing handle World Cup fever?!”

  2. Great point Andy, best of luck with the league, what an ace idea!

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