Cricket World Cup: Dealing with Sporting Events in the Workplace

Ben McCarthy


16 May 2019


The 2019 Cricket World Cup will run from 30th May through to 14th July. Matches will (mostly) be held daily.

As the tournament is to be hosted in England and Wales, work may not be the top priority for employees who are following or attending the games. This could mean that instances of poor behaviour become more evident than usual.

For example, companies may see an increased number of absences, lateness or poor engagement, especially on days where a match is being played in a venue local to them.

Whilst it is ideal to maintain a positive relationship with your workforce, you must also be careful not to let standards slip too far.

The Cricket World Cup

Would employees really bail on work?

Staff may want time off to watch the games but it is unlikely to be feasible to allow large groups of them to do this at once. Your business needs to be able to function at full capacity and you should strictly only grant holiday requests in line with your usual processes.

This could be frustrating for some members of staff who have left it too late and they may need reminding of the usual process for requesting annual leave, which should be outlined in company policies.

It’s also a good idea to inform staff that their attendance levels will be monitored throughout the weekend and the days that follow. Any unauthorised absences are a form of misconduct and you might need to proceed with your usual disciplinary procedure if this does happen.

As a further deterrent to employees thinking about taking time off without permission, you could also encourage a work event out of the situation, allowing employees to dress-down and bring in party food.

Will your employees be on the ball?

If a match is on during working hours, you should consider how you’ll respond to requests from employees to watch it. For example, is it possible to have a television on in the background or a radio playing?

Employees will most likely be able to get updates through the use of personal devices or company internet, something that can easily distract them from their work.

Reminding employees in advance of your policy on personal browsing in working time will be a valuable move to reinforce any behaviour which you find unacceptable.

Don’t be bowled over by favouritism

The tournament features teams from 10 countries so you should be careful to treat all employees in the same way regardless of their nationality. Showing preference to one employee’s request over another could potentially lead to claims of favouritism or even discrimination.

Be mindful that, if the match is displayed in the workplace, any discriminatory or inappropriate comments made either by employees or members of the public should also not be tolerated.

Whilst you should ensure that employees are correctly working to the terms of their contract, you should also consider taking steps that will allow workers to view the game and act as a deterrent to taking unauthorised absences.

Still stumped for answers?

Speak to a Croner expert for guidance on your policies, procedures, or any other HR query on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Ben McCarthy works as a content writer for Croner producing commentary and guidance on employment law and key HR developments. Coming from an extensive legal background, Ben regularly constructs key training materials for clients and advisers, and provides daily contributions to national publications.

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