Managing employees during the Euros

Wednesday June 16, 2021

Football fan or not, you’ll probably be aware that EURO 2020 started last week. Whether it was the flags, frontpage news or an excited employee that gave it away, it’s hard to miss the hype, especially when your home country is taking part.

Major sporting events, such as the Euros, receive international attention. So it’s quite possible that some of your employees will be following the football. Even those who aren’t can be tempted or distracted by the social atmosphere surrounding the event.

Football fever combined with some long-awaited sunshine can increase the chances of people getting together. However not all COVID restrictions have been lifted, so cautions are still proscribed.

In addition to potential concerns for health, there is still work to be done too. You need your employees to be focused on their jobs, especially if this is a busy time for your business.

Managing employees during the Euros can involve some tricky situations with staff. With an HR approved game plan in place though, it’s possible to keep your team on track and performing throughout the season.

Your policy

Having a policy that details your expectations and any allowances during major sporting events helps to explain to staff what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. A gentle reminder of this around the time of such events can be helpful.

If you are a sports fan yourself, you might decide to incorporate the viewing of major games or the infamous office sweepstake into your company culture. In this case, a policy is still helpful for communicating boundaries.

Managing absence

Flexible working hours, if suitable for your business, can promote a good work/life balance and be a morale booster.

Allowing employees to watch a major event and make the time back can reduce the risk of them trying to do this in secret. This may be of particular concern whilst employees are working from home. Alternatively, scheduling meetings for match times or deadlines on projects can help to avoid secret screenings.

If you’re unable to permit flexitime, be prepared for a rise in leave requests or “sickies” from those desperate to see a game. An absence management tool like The HR Dept Toolkit can be useful here.

Managing misconduct

Whether watching a game when you need them working, or caught behaving badly on camera out of hours, your policy should include an employee code of conduct and the consequences of any breaches.

Managing misconduct or gross misconduct in the workplace must involve a fair and proper procedure. Failing to do this increases the risk of discrimination.

Keeping staff safe

If you’re thinking of arranging a work-social around the Euros, remember that you are responsible for the safety of your employees and any event must meet government COVID rules.

If some staff have expressed concern about a colleague attending events and then coming to work, you should reassure them of your COVID-secure risk assessment. It may also be a good idea to consider providing COVID tests for any employees attending the workplace.

If you are currently still operating a home working model in your businesses, remember that home is not always a safe space for everyone. Tragically, domestic abuse charities have warned of a potential rise in cases during the Euros.

If you or an employee are in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

We have collaborated with Sharon Livermore, the Domestic Abuse Alliance (DA) and the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA) on a new domestic abuse policy and training for employers. If you would like a free copy of “Sharon’s Policy” or advice on training your staff, please get in touch.

Further resources for victims of domestic abuse:

National Domestic Abuse Helpline – Tel: 0808 2000 247

The Mix, for under 25s in the UK – Tel: 0808 808 4994

National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – Tel: 0800 999 5428

Preventing People Problems

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