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May 18, 2010

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Don’t score an own-goal during World Cup, employers warned

One of the biggest sporting tournaments in the world is coming up and that can only mean one thing in workplaces up and down the land: skiving!

While that may be a harsh indictment of employees’ commitment, the forthcoming World Cup football extravaganza in South Africa has prompted various organisations to issue warnings to employers about the need to have policies in place to manage absenteeism during the month-long competition.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recently polled more than 1000 employers and found that 90 per cent had no plans in place to manage staff absence during the World Cup. Just 5 per cent had developed a policy, while a further 5 per cent were in the process of preparing one.

Consequently, the Institute has produced a guide for employers entitled The World Cup and Absence Management, which suggests approaches bosses can consider to help staff enjoy the games without compromising the needs of the business. Suggestions include flexible working hours, shift swaps, unpaid leave, and setting up facilities to allow matches to be shown in the workplace.

CIPD advisor John McGurk explained: “Research suggests that when employers demonstrate they care about their staff and their interests outside work, employees are more likely to go the extra mile for the organisation. Whatever individual organisations decide is right for their employees, guidance should be clear and communicated well.”

Alan King, president and chief operating officer of employee assistance programmes provider Workplace Options, agreed, saying open dialogue with employees is key. He added: “If you are able to set clear expectations and communicate what is and is not appropriate during a time such as the World Cup, hopefully it will be easier to manage workflow and keep the peace with colleagues at the same time.”

Tips offered by the company to help keep workers engaged include:

  • Create an award system that celebrates the event, such as allowing those who complete their assigned tasks to leave early to enjoy a game;
  • Ensure that all employees are treated fairly, including those who are not interested in the tournament; and
  • Run a charity sweepstake on the outcome of games.

Concluded Workplace Options’ CEO, Dean Debnam: “While corporate goals mandate productivity in the workplace, the impact of outside engagements cannot be discounted when it comes to managing employees.”

The CIPD guidance can be downloaded here.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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