The 2014 World Cup in Brazil saw 131 million UK working days lost as people bunked off work or stayed up late to celebrate (or commiserate) England’s performance and missed work the next day. 

The England versus Wales game during the 2016 Euros cost the UK economy an estimated £269 million alone in unauthorised leave.

And for companies who work outside of standard ‘office hours’ such as retail, hospitality and healthcare, huge sporting events can have a significant impact on their operations.

So, with the World Cup in Russia kicking off, Erik Fjellborg, CEO and Founder of Quinyx, the market leader in Workforce Management shares five top tips to ensure companies aren’t knocked out by the beautiful game.

  1. Plan in advance


“A lot of companies will have the fixtures list on their wall and a lot will run a staff sweepstake. So it can’t be a surprise when England’s games take place.  Make sure you’re ready for everyone to be distracted and reschedule the company’s workflow around the matches to ensure you’re not hitting peak demand just when the kick off starts.”

  1. Have a strong squad


“Not everyone will want to watch England versus Panama but for those that do, help them find a colleague to substitute their shifts for them.  The important thing is that there’s sufficient resourcing throughout the tournament.  Remember, the fixtures list is also a ready-made resource planner.”

  1. Build your subs bench


“Some games might go into extra time.  A lot of fans certainly will.  Make sure that you’ve identified team members that are willing to step in at short notice if ‘football fever’ strikes at short notice and absences spike suddenly.  Make sure you get their permission to contact them – and keep their contacts close to hand in case you’re suddenly short of staff.”

  1. Football takes us home


“The UK workforce is one of the most multicultural in the world.  Remember that Poland versus Senegal or France versus Australia will be huge for expats and a massive reason to get together.  Factor this in and be considerate to other nationalities and use this to help to reschedule your international teams so that you’re covered throughout the tournament.”

  1. Leftfield sectors are set to score


“People inevitably flock to pubs, bars and restaurants to watch the game with fellow fans. So venues should expect to be busier than usual and plan extra support during matches. But sectors such as retail shouldn’t be fooled into thinking they’re in for a quiet spell. The 2012 Olympics was a prime example of shoppers taking the opportunity to enjoy some retail therapy in a less busy environment while the die-hard supporters were glued to their screens.”

Quinyx’s Erik Fjellborg concluded: “We always seem to sleepwalk into resource issues during each World Cup when we know people will be distracted or won’t turn up after big games.  On a ‘normal’ day a manager’s biggest challenge is getting the right people in the right roles at the right time.  During the World Cup this can be an even bigger headache so it’s important that businesses have a flexible plan and the ability to quickly substitute and mobilise their teams.”