Do I Need a Sporting Events Policy?

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Matthew Reymes-Cole

Matthew Reymes Cole

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30 Jun 2021

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The postponed UEFA EURO 2020 Championship began on 11 June 2021. England are still in the running, and as a result, you may have seen some changes in your workplace. You might have fully embraced the championship, with flags in the workplace and sweepstakes. Or, you might be trying to block it out and keep your staff focused.

In either case, you’ll likely have noticed a change at work, for better or worse. What’s the best way to manage it? The answer might be a sporting events policy.

Sporting events policy

Why should I have one?

One benefit of creating such a policy is that it can also be applied during similar events, such as Wimbledon and the Olympic games. These policies will typically outline an organisation’s stance on a variety of issues including:

  • Flexible working
  • Internet usage
  • Workplace conduct during the event

Having a specific sporting events policy in place will help inform staff of any amendments to accepted working practices. It will also provide you with a framework to discipline those who fail to comply.

Other considerations

Simply having a policy in place is just the first step. For any policy to be truly successful it must be communicated effectively. If you do choose to create a new policy, ensure a copy of this is provided to staff well in advance. This will give them sufficient opportunity to review its contents and consider the practical implications. This doesn’t mean you can’t introduce a new policy during an event, just that it will be easier for you to implement and be most effective prior to this.

Effective communication is equally important. Particularly if you’re relying on pre-existing workplace polices to guide employee behaviour. Consider holding informal meetings with the wider workforce to reiterate what is expected of them during the event. This will give you the opportunity to announce any relaxing of existing policies to better accommodate employees.

Fairness & equality

Your policies need to be enforced in a fair and consistent manner. Sporting events policies will commonly cover rules surrounding annual leave. This is because employees may want time off to watch their favourite team’s matches. Normal procedures should apply. For example, leave being granted only on a first come first serves basis. Additionally, staff may be permitted to watch certain matches in between shifts and during designated break periods. Line managers must be vigilant to ensure they do not take advantage of this privilege.

Policies should cover situations where employees are working from home. This is particularly important as discrimination could arise. Here’s an example:

A male staff member is working from home. During an England match there is a noticeable dip in their productivity. You suspect they may have stopped working and watched the game instead, but you have no solid proof. You decide to begin a disciplinary on the basis that they were neglecting their duties. The employee denies the allegations and the issue escalates to a dismissal. In this scenario, there is a high probability that the individual could raise a claim of discrimination and/or unfair dismissal.

Instead of making assumptions, you should train line managers to deal with each situation on a case-by-case basis. Take the employee’s specific situation into account – they may be dealing with burnout or stress, for example.

Final steps

Implementing a sporting events policy is useful in maintaining workplace productivity. Particularly if you have struggled to manage employee performance in the past. However, creating and implementing the policy isn’t enough. You must adequately inform staff of any new policies and make concerted efforts to enforce the policy’s guidelines in a consistent manner. Ensure that your new policy also applies in the same way to those working from home.

Expert support

Croner have created a free sporting events policy for you to refer to. The policy is built to be customised for your business and should not be used as is.
Download yours here.

If you need further support with contracts, policies, or employee conduct, speak to one of our HR experts today on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Matthew Reymes-Cole

Matt joined Croner in 2007 as an employment law consultant and has advised clients of all sizes on all aspects of employment law. He has worked within management positions since 2017 and currently overseas a team within the litigation department, whilst continuing to support a number of clients directly.

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