One more sleep until we get to see England play in the World Cup semi-finals. I’m sure many of you are still pinching yourselves, waiting with bated breath for the 7pm kick off when England will look to book their place in football’s biggest game: the World Cup Final.
Wednesday will see offices throughout England transform into hives of nervous anticipation. Employers may even notice an overall drop in productivity, a trend that will likely carry into Thursday (especially if England actually win, in which case you can kiss Friday goodbye as well).
For others, particularly those with zero interest in football, the World Cup can be a hugely frustrating period. Many employees find themselves unable to depend on their colleagues due to this altogether bizarre infatuation with a bunch of men kicking a ball around a field.
So we’re asking, is this tolerable? Should employers allow this deviation from the norm just for a game of football? Are there ways to use the World Cup to your advantage?
The World Cup’s Prestige
The first thing to consider is the nature of the tournament itself. Just how important is the World Cup? For football fans, each game in the tournament is more than just a ‘game of football.’ The World Cup is enjoyed by over 3.5 billion people, this makes it the most watched event of any kind in the world. Plus, it only occurs every 4 years!
Over 210 countries vie to be one of the 32 teams included in the tournament, with qualifying matches commencing three years in advance of the tournament itself. It’s the culmination of a hundreds of hours of football, joy, and heartbreak.
The World Cup is considered to be the biggest prize in any competitive sport ever, yet only 8 countries have actually won it. Basically, it’s such a massive tournament that even self-professed enemies of football can objectively appreciate it in terms of its grandeur and prestige.
Football’s Coming Home
The next consideration is the relationship that England and millions of its citizens have with football. The modern game of football originated in English public schools during the early to mid-19th Century.
Over the next 150 years, football became England’s national sport and most beloved pastime. Now, over 45m football tickets are sold in England each year, accounting for 2/3rds of all sports tickets sold in England year on year.
Also, it’s worth remembering that the last time England made it this far in the tournament was during Italia 1990! And, of course, the last time England got their hands on the trophy was over half a century ago in 1966.
For many younger people in your office (pretty much everyone under 30), this is unchartered territory. If Russia 2018 has the same cultural impact on England as ’66 or Italia ’90 did, this is most definitely an event many will want to be a part of.
A Loss of Short Term Productivity/a Rise in Long Term Productivity
The World Cup is going to account for a drop in productivity. It’s just unavoidable. There’s simply too many football fans, and not enough World Cups. Banning any interaction with the World Cup at work is the corporate equivalent of burying your head in the sand. It establishes a secretive culture among office football fans.
Those passionate for the sport will find new, innovate ways of watching games, while those who don’t watch football will continue to consider the lack of mutual effort unfair.
From my experience, anyone and everyone can enjoy a party or gathering orientated around a World Cup fixture. That’s why I suggest you take advantage of England’s semi-final and to think in terms of long-term productivity.
Organise an office screening, or go to a public screening together. It eliminates the stigma of watching games during working hours and promotes a healthy sense of camaraderie. And of course, it’s been well documented and proven in the past that strong personal relationships between colleagues can improve long-term productivity.
Should I Take Time Off?
Many football fans have undoubtedly made plans to watch the match with family, friends, or colleagues, so allowing employees to slip out of the office at 4pm will certainly not be forgotten. You may even observe that when faced with shorter hours, employee productivity increases in an effort to prevent anything looming over them.
As is tradition with any English sporting occasion, drinking is not exactly mandatory, but highly encouraged nonetheless. If you plan on having a few drinks during the match, it would be wise to have a think about your Thursday morning strategy, considering you may not be in tip-top form.
Aim to complete any important work on Wednesday afternoon, move any meetings you may have to Friday or try to fit them into your Wednesday schedule. Whether it be from alcohol, a satisfactory, or unsatisfactory result, there’s a distinct possibility that you will opt to work from home on Thursday.
If you don’t manage to make it into the office on Thursday and need to chat to your teammates, or attend a meeting, stay in touch using the 247meeting Mobile App! Instead of scheduling calendar appointments with PIN codes and dial-in numbers, anyone can call a group of contacts from their mobile instantly. This saves valuable time that can be used to deal with more pressing issues, or to nurse that hangover.
Jonathan Dungan, Marketing Executive – 247meeting