Fast-forward one month. England’s footballers have flourished in Brazil and several hours earlier booked a place at the World Cup semi-final. Time differences mean a pulsating quarter final match finished at 1.30am British Summertime.
Now 10am, the office is distinctly quiet.
According to specialist recruitment consultancy IntaPeople, the 2014 World Cup presents the perfect opportunity for firms to introduce flexible working procedures.
More than 90 per cent of UK firms already offer some form of flexibility, according to a survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). But the survey also claimed that smaller companies are less accommodating.
Parents of children under 16 and registered carers already have the right to ask for a change in work patterns to suit their home life. But from June 30th, (towards the end of the 2014 World Cup), the same rules will apply to all employees who have worked for their employer for at least 26 weeks. The government says it wants to remove the “cultural assumption” that flexible working only applies to parents or carers.
These changes will arrive slightly too late for some. Whether you’re supportive, fiercely unsupportive, or largely indifferent to England’s cause, the chances are high that a proportion of your office will be transfixed by events in Brazil this summer.
A 2013 survey commissioned by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) found that absences incurred an annual cost to the economy of 14.92 billion pounds, while the cost of around 12 per cent of absences not being genuine was placed at 1.7 billion pounds a year.
According to IntaPeople, businesses have every reason to be concerned about the knock-on effects of late World Cup kick-off times to workplace productivity and absenteeism, and should have plans in place.
Phil Handley is Operations Director at IntaPeople, which this year celebrates 20 years in business. “We work with a number of companies who use events like the World Cup to demonstrate their flexible working options, which is something employees typically respond well to.
“Allowing workers to make up the time at a later date is one good option, while offering a short period of unpaid leave can be another.
“Being open and transparent from the very outset brings a host of obvious benefits. There’s no need to worry about key workers calling in sick at the last minute, you can plan staffing arrangements, team morale can be kept strong and employees feel they have been treated respectfully. On the other hand, failing to address the subject in advance can lead to disruption, disharmony and significantly reduced productivity.”