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Lead Your Team Managing

World Cup Woes: Keeping Your Business Running While Workers Watch

World Cup Woes: Keeping Your Business Running While Workers Watch
In the midst of the World Cup, employers will have their hands full trying to keep their employees on task. / Credit: World Cup image via Shutterstock

There's a good chance your employees will be more focused on soccer goals than their work goals over the next month.

With the World Cup officially underway, both die-hard and casual soccer fans will be concentrating on the games going on in Brazil, which could have a large impact on how much work is getting done around the office.

TeamViewer, a vendor for online collaboration and desktop-sharing software, said over the next month businesses will likely see workers watching matches during office hours on their work computer, coming in late the day after a game, or even calling in sick or taking a day off due to post-match celebrations.  The company estimates the World Cup could result in millions of man-hours of lost productivity for businesses.

Magdalena Brzakala, PR manager for TeamViewer, said business leaders should think about how the soccer tournament might impact their business.

"In fact, it could prove beneficial for businesses in the long run," Brzakala said. "The key is not to see the tournament as a threat, but as a chance to maximize engagement."

TeamViewer offers five tips to help managers get the best out of their work force during the 2014 World Cup.

  • Set a clear policy on the conditions: Turn unplanned absences into planned absences. Avoid confusion among managers and employees during these games and set a clear policy on the frequency and conditions that will encourage and support employees for requesting time off beforehand. This gives managers the ability to plan for that absence ahead of time and mitigate some of that productivity loss. For those businesses that already have a policy on absences in place, it's a good time to review it and remind employees what is expected of them. It might also be useful to emphasize disciplinary consequences of taking an unauthorized leave.
  • Offer home office hours: While there's no legal requirement for employers to give employees time off to watch the matches, being flexible during the tournament can boost worker morale and productivity. Consider offering flexible work hours so employees may arrive earlier in the morning in order to leave earlier in the evening or work the same amount of hours in four days instead of five. Additionally, permitting employees to work from home may also be feasible for certain organizations and is good for your business, good for your staff and even good for the environment.
  • Make the tournament contribute to teamwork: Rather than accept the high level of absenteeism around the games, employers should consider turning conference rooms into tournament screening rooms or allowing workers to have a radio on during games. This will help foster a connection among colleagues from different teams or departments who usually would not interact with one another or get together. It also stimulates discussions at work, which indirectly helps to promote a team spirit.
  • Plan accordingly: A positive benefit to the soccer tournament is that it gives employers a chance to show their staff that they value them. This includes, for example, not planning the kick-off meeting for that important project for a morning after the match, especially if it's a late event. Again, be clear about what you expect from your employees in relation to attendance and performance. Encourage employees to take leave or time off to watch matches rather than being present at work but unproductive. This should help balance your need to run your business with their desire to keep up to date with scores.
  • See the long-term benefits: Productivity is more than pumping out work hours. While productivity may take a dive during the soccer tournament, the long-term benefits of letting employees watch some games outweigh those short-term negatives. In fact, allowing teams to enjoy the event could actually enhance their job satisfaction, making employees happier, more committed and more productive at work.

Originally published on Business News Daily

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.