The Road To Rio...!

The Road To Rio...!

It’s been a busy year so far sporting wise in the UK and its set to continue that way with the excitement of the Olympics. It’s best therefore, as an employer, to think ahead about how to manage a possible influx of holiday requests and sickness absence, and for those who are at work, the distraction of going online or using social media to keep a check on the results and the medals table.

Remember it’s only a temporary situation, and once the sporting events are over we can return to normal, but clarifying expectations to staff ahead of the start of the games can help maintain productivity and lets people know that you are mindful of their interests outside of work.

ACAS have provided guidance to help employers think through and prepare for situations that may come up over the next few weeks.

ACAS suggest that a good starting point is to find out what the level of interest is in the Olympics amongst the workforce and then put straight forward agreements in place to address issues such as taking holidays, sickness absence and the use of the internet and social media during the time that the Olympics are being held. Talk to staff about what these arrangements might be so that the needs of the organisation are met, and at the same time staff feel engaged because their needs are being considered.

Consider the degree of flexibility that can be given during this time and how this will work. Perhaps a temporary flexi working arrangement where staff can vary their working hours and then make up any difference. It may be feasible to implement a procedure for team members to swop shifts so that they can watch their favourite event.

Time off under annual leave arrangements for those travelling to see the games should be talked through and consideration given to jet lag or arrangements in the case of delayed flights. Arrangements for booking annual leave may need to be more flexible than usual.

It’s important during this time to monitor sickness absence in order to identify and address any patterns of absence that may link to the timing of Olympic events. Employees also need to know that sickness absence procedures will still be enforced during this time.

A good way to provide flexibility is to allow employees to listen to popular events on the radio or watch them on the TV, and give permission for them to have a break during key events. Allowing this kind of dispensation helps to foster a team spirit and employee engagement.

As well as thinking about flexibility and time off, it is also important to clarify what is acceptable in terms of the use of social media and websites during the Olympics; this might be just a case of reinforcing a policy that already exists, or the introduction of a new policy.

A key factor in all of this is that all staff are treated equally and fairly, not forgetting that some individuals won’t have an interest in the Olympic Games, along with the need to put procedures and ground rules in place so that everyone knows what is and isn’t available to them.

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