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Employment / Alpha HR

Sam Azzopardi-Tudor

Work and the Euros

The Men’s UEFA Euro 2024 officially began on 14 June and will continue up until 14 July 2024.  Major sporting competitions such as this often present a variety of challenges for employers when it comes to managing staff, especially as many of the matches will fall during the working day. 
Key issues employers may wish to consider are:
Workplace Distractions
As a number of matches will take place during normal business hours, it is expected that staff may become distracted during these times which in turn could affect productivity and the service they provide.  In order to mitigate this decline and to avoid staff from using workplace equipment to access certain websites or articles, it may be wise to remind staff of Company’s expectations on mobile phone usage and the Company’s IT and Equipment Policy.

Another approach may be to keep all staff updated of match scores or even streaming games in the staff room and permitting staff to watch them during designated break times.
As there are likely to be employees of different nationalities represented at the Euros, light-hearted rivalry is expected.  However, given that this is an event where strong emotional opinions are held, this will need to be carefully monitored to ensure that no offence or confrontation occurs.
In order to avoid the potential for claims of discrimination or harassment, employers should be careful to treat all employees in the same way regardless of their nationality and remind staff of their obligations to treat their colleagues with dignity and respect at all times. 
Bullying and Harassment
Sporting events, especially the Euros, are often revered for their sense of pride and community that arises from them.  Unfortunately though, on occasion, this passion can get out of hand.  With every nation involved playing at least three games during the tournament, employers should be wary of staff making offensive or discriminative remarks and ensure that there is an appropriate grievance reporting procedure in place with any instances of bullying or harassment being taken seriously.
Managing Alcohol
Alcohol and sporting events, for many, are synonymous with each other. Therefore, employees must be reminded of the Company’s alcohol policy confirming what is expected and warning that contravening these rules could result in disciplinary action.
Watching the Games
Employers must be mindful that any decision made regarding who gets to watch any of the games should be made fairly. It may be possible to show events during work and allow staff to time their breaks around particular events, or some may ask to work at different times in order to see their favourite team.
Staff should be reminded that if they would like time off to watch the games, they will need to submit a request as normal in accordance with the Company’s Holiday Policy.
Employers may also wish to consider reminding staff that attendance levels will continue to be monitored during the Euros and that patterns of absence will be investigated further.  Staff should be aware that unauthorised absence is deemed as misconduct which is unpaid and can result in disciplinary action. 
A large sporting event such as this has the potential to create a positive atmosphere in the workplace.  A gentle reminder of Company policies will be the first step in ensuring that all members of staff get to participate how they wish, if they wish to do so at all, in a comfortable environment free of discrimination or poor behaviour. 
If you have any questions on how to manage staff during the Euros, please contact our Alpha Team via email or call us on 0845 450 1561.