With Wimbledon now over and Andy Murray having captivated the country’s attention for the full two weeks, some employers may have identified a slight decrease in productivity levels, increase in last minute holidays taken or even an increase in the number of ‘sickies’. And with the Olympics just around the corner, now may be a good time for employers to think about how best to tackle these issues and avoid arguments in the workplace over holiday entitlements or slacking employees.
ACAS have produced some helpful guidance for employers on managing employees during the Olympics and have also summarised some possible problematic and clashing employee situations:
- Employees with tickets requesting time off to attend as spectators;
- Employees requesting time off to attend the games as a selected volunteer;
- Employees who do not take time off but who will try and catch the games on TV/internet at work or who will want to take advantage of a flexible working policy;
- Employees who do not enjoy the Olympics and become fed up of the fuss; and
- Employees with children requesting time off at the same time to coincide with the school holidays.
The best way to keep everyone happy is to have a fair and transparent process in the workplace. It is important to make sure that there are clear policies in place, the most important and relevant ones being:
- Holidays – especially the process for requesting paid/unpaid leave;
- Flexible Working and Flexi-time;
- Sickness absence – especially absence reporting and return to work interview process;
- Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure;
- Computer Use and Social Media policies; and
- Home Working – especially for those employers who are London based.
There is nothing wrong with adopting a strict approach in relation to the Olympics, as long as this is applied across the board. However, a more flexible approach, albeit with clear boundaries to avoid some taking liberties, may result in happier employees, better working relationships between employees and also some extra support for Team GB!
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