The World Cup – widely regarded as the greatest sporting event on earth – is nearly here.
Experts estimate the 2014 tournament in Brazil could cost the UK 250 million of working hours through staff absence, late arrivals and poor performance due to frustration at not being able to keep up with games.
So how can businesses ensure employees aren’t distracted and continue to produce good results during this summer’s festival of football?
Flexibility is the key.
One company who has seen the benefits of a more relaxed approach is the Tenet Group, one of the largest advisor support groups in the UK.
On 30 May, employees downed tools during working hours to watch the BBC’s ‘World Cup Rewind’, which replayed the 1966 World Cup final between England and West Germany as if it was live.
During the 2010 World Cup, the firm’s employees were given the opportunity to leave work to watch England matches – and they will be given the option again this summer should matches fall within working hours.
The company realises the importance of having happy employees and believes its flexibility promotes a healthy workforce, spreading a feel-good factor throughout the organisation.
Furthermore, a recent survey conducted by office supplies group Viking also revealed that social activity is more important to employees than a pay rise.
The survey, which went out to more than 1,000 employees in businesses of no more than 50 employees, found a monthly get-together would improve communication while relieving stress.
It would also increase the longevity of employees and encourage collaboration – leading to a possible 13 per cent increase in happiness.
Perhaps most tellingly, the thought of a £5,000 salary raise prompted a mere two per cent increase in happiness.
Sophie Christopher, head of events, PR and external marketing at Viking, stressed employers needed to grasp the nettle – and understand financial remuneration isn’t necessarily the most important matter on workers’ minds.
She said: “Social events can be of great benefit to employers in promoting friendship, loyalty and communication within a team.
“These strong relationships can in turn increase the longevity of staff and improve their ability to collaborate within an office environment.
“This is definitely an issue that should be given additional weight when considering how to improve workplace morale.”