David D’Souza, director of profession at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said:

“July is a big month for sports fans, and many people across the UK are eagerly watching from home, the pub, or going to matches themselves. The widespread excitement can raise questions for employers around flexibility and how accommodating they should be. It's important that employers and managers are clear about their expectations of the workforce, and that employees book time off if events or their possible after-effects will impact their ability to work.

“Where an employer wants to support people’s desire to watch and is in the position to do so, flexible working arrangements could be explored. While flexibility in terms of location is not always possible in frontline and customer-facing roles, flexible working hours can help to boost employee morale and wellbeing, especially during the summer months. To be as fair and inclusive as possible, if employers are making allowances to bring in some flexibility and fun, this should be open to everyone in the business, not just the sports fans.

“Depending on the timing and significance of the event, employers may also choose to screen matches in the workplace, which can be a great opportunity for team building and bringing people together. Employers should consider their organisational culture and what works best for the business.”

Notes to editors

  • The CIPD’s new fortnightly podcast, HR People Pod, discusses workplace flexibility around major sporting events. Listen here

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