World Cup Sniffles

15 June 2010


Call me a cynic but I have a sneaking suspicion that sales of Kleenex will enjoy an upsurge over the next three and a half weeks. And there are two good reasons for that.

Firstly, those of us who suffer hay fever every time it gets a bit muggy will be in the minority praying for some low pressure. And even if we get our wish it is inevitable that the summer cold, spread wilfully and with no social conscience on the part of the under elevens, is on the way.

But more critically, it’s the World Cup, and anyone who thinks we’ve witnessed our last tear jerking howler following the hapless Rob Green’s fumble against the limited USA team at the weekend is blissfully deluded. I suspect (and I really hope I’m wrong) that come the latter stages of the tournament grown men the length and breadth of the country will again be blubbing inconsolably as we lose a penalty shoot out to Germany, Argentina or preferably Brazil.

Back to my earlier point. Not everyone has a Wright-Phillips-like bounce in their step in the summer, but what’s the betting that even those who aren’t snorting anti histamines throw the odd sickie during the World Cup?

So how should employers deal with the irreversible tide of hysteria?

A recent survey has suggested that there are more Scrooges in the Public Sector where only 30 per cent of organisations will allow staff to work flexibly to let them watch England play against Slovenia at 3pm next Wednesday. The Private Sector appears to be applying more common sense at 51 per cent.

Against the backdrop of pay freezes, redundancies and the disappearance of staff perks that has blighted the market in the last couple of years I do wonder what the 49 per cent are thinking of. The loss of three hours productivity to allow your people to cheer on our team is surely a small price to pay. Employers who stick to their guns when staff presence isn’t essential betray an approach to morale that leaves a lot to be desired.

And when the job market recovers don’t be surprised to see the downtrodden workers up sticks. There’s an awful lot of goodwill to be gained by showing your people that you care and it will be repaid tenfold. Those employers who allow their staff to watch the game will almost certainly suffer fewer sickness absences, and not just this year.

In any case, every office has someone who doesn’t see why everyone’s getting worked up about a bunch of blokes chasing a ball around – so now’s their chance to shine.

Stuart Wilkin writes for insider.
www.insidermedia.co.uk


Posted  15 June 2010

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