Businesses Urged to Adopt Flexible Approach for European Championships


With the European Championships kicking off in France this weekend, businesses have been urged to take a flexible approach to staffing during the tournament.

European Championships kicking off in France this weekend

Many matches at this year’s European Championships – which is unique in the fact that three home nations will be taking part - will be played during traditional office hours.

Passionate football fans could be set to miss out on crucial moments of their team’s campaign due to work commitments, however guidelines set out by Acas have been echoed by Zee Hussain, employment law expert and Partner at Simpson Millar, as he explains:

“Of course companies will need to find a balance between their operational requirements and keeping employees happy, but there are a number of solutions that have been put forward that will allow football fans to follow their team, while ensuring that they still fulfil their obligation to an employer.”

Home Nations Faceoff in the Group Stage

With the standout fixture of the group stage featuring England vs. Wales – kicking off at 2PM - some of the proposals include flexible working hours, increased website access during the tournament, and even watching games live on TV in the workplace.

It has been argued that a more understanding approach from businesses could result in an increase of staff morale, as Zee claims that:

“Generally happy employees result in productivity increases and the real concern for companies is a drop in morale amongst employees who are missing the big events.

My suggestion would be to adopt flexible working hours - allowing employees to leave early on match day and make up the time with early starts or late finishes - this should offer the required balance between work demands and improving staff morale.

You should also be prepared for a spate of holiday requests – the European Championships fall in the summer months when annual leave is already in high demand. Have a clear policy on annual leave in your employee handbook and remind employees to book their holidays in advance.”

Maintaining the Work Environment

Not all businesses will have a dedicated HR team, which can result in disputes over working hours and employee demands becoming difficult to deal with – this is one of the main reasons Zee believes flexibility is key during the month-long competition, as he said:

“Passionate employees can quickly turn their dedication against employees and without a HR specialist some companies could descend into damaging arguments with employees over trivial matters.

In my experience, employees appreciate a little flexibility in the workplace and they often repay understanding employers via increased work ethic and a dedicated loyalty to the firm.”

Responding to Employee Complaints

Businesses that cannot find solutions to daytime matches may find that employees begin lodging complaints for unfair treatment and it is likely that these staff members will also have a lower work ethic and slower output than is usual.

When profits are compromised by disagreements between decision makers and staff it is important that matters are resolved quickly, our dedicated employment experts can ensure disputes are handled professionally and in a timely manner.

Visit our dedicated HR service if the festivities of Euro 2016 turn sour and we will be happy to outline a conflict resolution that will get your business back on track quickly and efficiently.

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